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From the collection of the 





San Francisco, California 




Northern Spotted Owl, a rare inhabitant of the dense spruce and fir forests. (From a paint- 
ing by Olaus J. Murie.) 




Ira N. Gabrielson 


Stanley G. Jewett 


Published by 


Through the O.S.C. Cooperative Association 


Number 2., March 1940 

Corvallis, Oregon 

Copyright 1940 by 


Printed and Bound in U. S. A. by James, Kerns & Abbott Co., Portland, Oregon. 


LOVERS of the great out-of-doors, as well as those scientifically inclined, 
are to be felicitated upon the publication of The Birds of Oregon by Gabriel- 
son and Jewett. For forty years these men patiently and painstakingly 
assembled the material for this imposing and delightful book. They 
brought to the task a wealth of experience and of scientific knowledge. 
They covered the state from the Columbia to Goose Lake and from the 
Pacific Ocean to the Snake River. By personal contact they know Oregon 
from sea level to the summit of Mt. Hood. They transferred from nature's 
book to the printed page some of nature's most interesting and beautiful 
expressions. Dr. Ira N. Gabrielson, Chief of the United States Biological 
Survey, and Mr. Stanley G. Jewett, Regional Biologist of the Biological 
Survey, have done exceptionally well something they particularly desired 
to do. It is significant that the results of their labor are preserved, a work 
of art, for the pleasure and profit of all of us. 

The authors, for years, have cooperated with Oregon State College in 
the promotion of plans for the preservation of the wild life of the region. 
They have visioned the time when leisure hours would be more plentiful 
and when the wild things of field and forest would contribute greatly to 
the recreational features of the Northwest. 

Oregon has wonderful recreational possibilities. When one knows the 
birds, their habits and their value, his interest in them is stimulated and 
his joy in seeing them is increased. In the accomplishment of these things, 
the book fulfills its mission. 


President, Oregon State College 
Corvallis, Oregon 



As THEY undertook to write this record of the birds found in Oregon, the 
authors were quickly impressed with the scarcity of published notes on 
the avifauna of this State, which ornithologically is one of the richest and 
most interesting areas in the West. The more important ornithological 
papers that have been published about this fascinating territory since 
Lewis and Clark made the first recorded notes in 1805 could be counted 
on the fingers of two hands. 

The task of gathering the literature and tabulating the records, an 
enormous though enjoyable one that has occupied the authors' spare time 
for many years, would have been insurmountable without the kindness 
of hosts of friends who have saved specimens and forwarded notes that 
have been freely drawn upon. Attempt has been made to give due credit 
in the text to all these friends, and the authors wish here to express their 
appreciation to them collectively and individually for the very great help 

The State Game Commission and the State Fish Commission of Oregon 
have been very generous in helping the authors obtain data, often even 
having detailed the services of staff members; and the Fish Commission 
has given financial aid as well in carrying out some of the investigations. 
All field notes and specimens of the Bureau of Biological Survey have been 
made available, and every possible help has been extended by numerous 
members of the Bureau. The same holds true for the National Museum, 
where Dr. Alexander Wetmore, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian 
Institution, has examined many old specimens and verified records. Among 
the Oregon students of birds, Dr. William L. Finley, Dr. A. G. Prill, Alex 
Walker, W. E. Sherwood (now deceased),}. C. Braly, and Ed. S. Currier 
have furnished many valuable records and notes. Among later students, 
Reed Ferris, H. M. Dubois, Overton Dowell, Jr., John Carter, and J. E. 
Patterson have furnished specimens and notes that have contributed to the 
book materially. Many others, too numerous to mention here, have been 
helpful, and due credit has been given to each. 

Every effort has been made to go over the literature and to make this 
volume, the first comprehensive bird book for the State, a condensed 
summary of the existing knowledge of Oregon birds. It is impossible that 
the effort has been fully successful. Oregon is far distant from the larger 
scientific libraries, so that for information concerning many of the older 
and rarer works it has been necessary to depend on sources other than the 
original. A few of the older journals were checked by Gabrielson on 


several trips east, but the limited time available has permitted exam- 
ination of only the most important ones. 

As it seemed desirable to have brief understandable descriptions of the 
birds, the authors have used extensively, with her permission, the descrip- 
tions written by Florence Merriam Bailey in her Handbook of Birds of the 
Western United States (192.1 edition), either verbatim or modified as neces- 
sary to meet more recent subspecific descriptions. Bent's descriptions of 
downy young birds have also been drawn upon. The first of these two 
features has been incorporated because of the need of younger students to 
have convenient descriptions available in one book; the second, in answer 
to many queries and in view of the authors' own difficulties in finding 
descriptions of downy young birds before Bent's studies were published. 

In addition to this literature, the authors have had their own notes and 
specimens, collected whenever opportunity offered as they traveled over 
the State on other work and during vacation periods that for many years 
were devoted to filling in the gaps in their knowledge. Jewett has been 
engaged in collecting and observing birds in Oregon since 1902., with only 
comparatively brief absences from the State; and Gabrielson, since 1918. 
Since 1930 both authors have given time and such funds as they could 
spare to a study of the offshore bird population, about which little has 
been known. There is still a great deal to learn, but much information 
has been acquired, the essentials of which have been incorporated in this 
book. The tabulation and classification of these personal records has been 
in itself a huge task that has taken many years. 

The mass of available data seemed appalling when the compilation 
started, and except for the efficient help of Miss Adelaide G. King, who 
tabulated most of the card records and typed almost all the manuscript, 
the book would still be far from finished. Notwithstanding this wealth 
of material, as the work drew to a close, great gaps had a way of showing 
up in the most unexpected places, partly because of the hit-and-miss type 
of collecting necessarily practiced and partly because the territory is so 
large and so varied in topography and faunal conditions that two men 
could not fill in all of the detail even were they free to devote their entire 
lifetimes to the task. The authors feel that they have merely laid the 
groundwork on which others can build intelligently. Existing published 
records and the unpublished work of the few present-day bird students in 
the State have been tabulated and brought down to 1935 and thus made 
accessible for future workers. It is hoped that the book will provide an 
incentive for many others to take up this fascinating study and carry it 
much further than the authors have been able to do. The manuscript 
was completed in June 1935, but a few important records made since that 
date have been added. Additional distribution data would have been 
included if time had permitted. The outlook for some of the birds, par- 
ticularly the migratory waterfowl, is now more hopeful than at that time. 

The book has been written entirely by Gabrielson, but a large part of 
the endless task of checking records and literature has been assumed by 
Jewett. For the identifications and for distribution data, the authors are 
jointly responsible, except that in some of the more difficult groups the 
specimens have been submitted to others. To these men, especially to Dr. 
H. C. Oberholser, Dr. Joseph Grinnell, Harry S. Swarth, and George 
Willett, the authors are particularly grateful for their patience in helping 
with knotty problems and answering inquiries. 

It would be grossly unfair not to acknowledge the constant encourage- 
ment that has been received from Dr. A. K. Fisher, Dr. W. B. Bell, and 
Stanley P. Young, under whose direction the authors have at various 
times been engaged in rodent and predatory animal control work. Recog- 
nizing the importance of the research work necessary, Mr. Young not 
only allowed ample time to work out special problems and to prepare this 
book, but also furnished clerical help when it could be spared from 
regular duties. 

To the State College Committee in charge of the publication of the 
Oregon State Monographs, a research series in which this study has been 
assigned a place, grateful acknowledgment is extended for their efficient 
service in arranging for the publication of the book and for valuable 
editorial assistance. 

The work has thus become a joint enterprise of the Bureau of Biological 
Survey and the Oregon State College, the College having handled the 
publication of the report. 


Chief, Bureau of Biological Survey. 



Foreword vii 

Preface ix 

List of illustrations xv 

Check-list of the birds of Oregon xix 

Something about birds as a group i 

Activity 3 

Coloration 3 

Song 5 

Nest building 6 

Care of the young 7 

Migration 9 

Study of migration routes 9 

Birdbanding a factor in plotting routes 10 

Mortality among migrants 14 

Speed of flight 16 

Economic status 17 

Topography and life zones of Oregon n 

Topography n 

Life zones 18 

Upper Sonoran Zone 33 

Transition Zone 35 

Canadian Zone 38 

Hudsonian Zone 39 

Arctic-Alpine Zone 41 

Federal bird refuges in Oregon 41 

Malheur migratory bird refuge 41 

Three Arch Rocks and Cape Meares bird refuges 43 

Klamath Lake bird refuge 44 

Cold Springs and McKay Creek bird refuges 44 

Upper Klamath bird refuge 44 

Goat Island migratory bird refuge 44 

Hart Mountain antelope refuge 44 

History of Oregon ornithology 46 

First records by Lewis and Clark, 1805-06 46 

David Douglas, 1815-16 48 

Townsend and Nuttall (1834-36) and others 49 

Government surveys, 1855 51 

Bendire, Henshaw, Mearns, and others, 1871 to 1901 53 

Recent ornithological investigations 55 

Work by United States Biological Survey 56 

List of birds originally described from Oregon 59 

Annotated list of the birds of Oregon 63 

Order Gaviiformes : Loons 64 

Order Colymbiformes : Grebes 70 

Order Procellariiformes: Tube-nosed swimmers 80 

Order Pelecaniformes: Totipalmate swimmers 90 

Order Ciconiiformes: Herons, ibises, and allies 103 

Order Anseriformes: Ducks, geese, and swans in 

Order Falconiformes : Birds of prey 179 

[ xiii ] 

CONTENTS Continued 


Order Galliformes : Gallinaceous birds zoy 

Order Gruiformes: Cranes, rails, and allies xz8 

Order Charadriiformes: Shore birds, gulls, auks, and allies 137 

Order Columbiformes : Pigeons and doves 315 

Order Cuculiformes : Cuckoos 3x9 

Order Strigiformes : Owls 331 

Order Caprimulgiformes : Goatsuckers 354 

Order Micropodiformes : Swifts and hummingbirds 358 

Order Coraciiformes : Kingfishers 367 

Order Piciformes : Woodpeckers 369 

Order Passeriformes : Perching birds 389 

Hypothetical list 600 

Bibliography 609 

Index 639 


List of Illustrations 

Northern Spotted Owl, a rare inhabitant of the dense spruce and fir forests. 

(From a painting by Olaus J. Murie.) Frontispiece 

Map of the Life Zones of Oregon In pocket at end 


i. A, Coast Range in Coos County, Oregon. B, Haystack Rock, Pacific City, Oregon, 

a great bird colony zo 

i. A, John Henrys Lake, Wallowa Mountains, Oregon. B, Kamela to Meacham, 

Oregon Trail on summit of Blue Mountains Z4 

3. A, Trail, Aneroid Lake to Tenderfoot Basin, Wallowa Mountains, Oregon. B, 

Aneroid Lake, from Pete's Point, Wallowa County, Oregon 15 

4. A, Steamboat Lake, in the Wallowa Mountains, Oregon. B, Winter in the Blue 

Mountains, Oregon z6 

5. A, Wapinitia Canyon, Wasco County, Oregon. B, Waterfalls between Sparks Lake 

and Green Lake, central Oregon Cascades, the haunt of the water ouzel, or 

dipper 2.7 

6. A, Mount Jefferson, Cascade Range, Oregon. B, Three Sisters, Cascade Range, 

Oregon 19 

7. A, Basalt canyons of southeastern Oregon. B, Hart Mountain, Lake County, Oregon. 30 

8 . Pacific Loon 66 

9. A, Nest and eggs of Eared Grebe. B, Eared Grebe 74 

10. A, Western Grebe. B, Nest and eggs of Pied-billed Grebe 78 

11. A, Downy young Forked-tailed Petrel, removed from nest burrow. B, Young White 

Pelicans 87 

iz. A, White Pelicans, with eggs in left foreground. B, White Pelicans taking off. ... 91 

13. A, Farallon Cormorants. B, Farallon Cormorant colony at Klamath Lake 96 

14. Brandt's Cormorant at nest with young 99 

15. Nesting colony of Brandt's Cormorants 100 

16. A, Nest and eggs of Treganza's Heron. B, Nests and eggs of California Heron in the 

treetops 104 

17. A, Nests of California Heron, up 150 feet. B, Young American Egret 106 

18. A, Black-crowned Night Heron. B, Nest and eggs of American Bittern nz 

19. A, Nest and eggs of Least Bittern. B, Young Least Bitterns 116 

zo. White-faced Glossy Ibis 118 

zi. A, Whistling Swan. B, Young Canada Goose izo 

Z2. A, Mallard drake. B, Baldpate 134 

Z3_ A, Female American Pintail on nest. B, American Pintail drake 141 

Z4_ A, Nest and eggs of Cinnamon Teal. B, Nest and eggs of Redhead 146 

Z5 . Western Harlequin Duck and young 166 

z6. Young Turkey Vulture 178 

Z7. A, California Condor. B, Cooper's Hawk i8z 

z8. Young Western Red-tailed Hawk 186 

Z9_ A, Nest of Ferruginous Rough-leg. B, Nest of Golden Eagle 192. 

30. Young Golden Eagle 194 

31. A, Young Marsh Hawks in nest. B, Osprey 197 




32.. A, Young Prairie Falcon. B, Eastern Sparrow Hawk zoi 

33. A, Downy young Sooty Grouse. B, Nest and eggs of Sooty Grouse 109 

34. A, Sooty Grouse. B, Nest and eggs of Oregon Ruffed Grouse 2.11 

35 . Nest and eggs of Mountain Quail 114 

36. A, Downy young Sandhill Crane. B, Nest and eggs of Sandhill Crane 130 

37. A, American Coots. B, Black Oyster-catchers Z36 

38. A, Downy young Western Snowy Plover. B, Nest and eggs of Killdeer 140 

39. A, Young Wilson's Snipe. B, Long-billed Curlew chicks 2.47 

40. A, Nest and eggs of Long-billed Curlew. B, Nest and eggs of Upland Plover 150 

41. A, Spotted Sandpiper chick. B, Western Willet 2.53 

4z. A, Nest and eggs of Avocet. B, Avocet on nest 2.68 

43. A, Nest and eggs of Black-necked Stilt. B, Black-necked Stilt on nest zji 

44. A, Red Phalarope. B, Male Wilson's Phalarope Z73 

45. A, Young Western Gull. B, Nest and eggs of Western Gull 2.83 

46. Western Gull z86 

47. A, California Gulls. B, California Gull colony 2.89 

48. A, Nest and eggs of Ring-billed Gull. B, Ring-billed Gulls 193 

49. A, Sabine's Gull. B, Forster's Tern on nest 301 

50. Caspian Terns and Farallon Cormorants 306 

5 1 . Young Black Terns 308 

52.. California Murre colony 310 

53. A, California Murres. B, California Murres and young 311 

54. A, Downy young Tufted Puffin. B, Close-up of a Tufted Puffin 310 

5 5 . Tufted Puffins 3x2. 

56. A, Band-tailed Pigeon squab on nest. B, Western Mourning Dove on nest 314 

57. Downy young Barn Owls 33i 

58. Barn Owl 333 

59. Brewster's Screech Owl 336 

60. A, Young Montana Horned Owls. B, Dusky Horned Owl 339 

61. A, Snowy Owl. B, Young Northern Spotted Owl 341 

6z. Young Western Burrowing Owls 346 

63. A, Downy young Long-eared Owls. B, Young Long-eared Owl 351 

64. A, Nest and eggs of Nuttall's Poor-will. B, Pacific Nighthawk 357 

65. A, Nest and eggs of Black-chinned Hummingbird. B, Broad-tailed Hummingbird . . 360 

66. Rufous Hummingbird at nest 36z 

67. Western Belted Kingfisher Row 366 

68. Red-shafted Flicker 3 7 z 

69. A, Young Lewis's Woodpeckers. B, Gairdner's Woodpecker 376 

70. A, Nest and eggs of Arkansas Kingbird. B, Nest and eggs of Wright's Flycatcher. . 39z 

71. A, Young Violet-green Swallows. B, Violet-green Swallow at nest box 405 

7Z. Young Rough-winged Swallows at nest 410 

73. A, Barn Swallow at nest containing eggs. B, Northern Cliff Swallows 4iz 

74. A, Nest and eggs of Long-tailed Jay. B, Nest of American Raven on windmill .... 4Z4 

75 . A, Young American Magpie. B, Western Crow 4z8 

76. Oregon Chickadee and young 436 

77. A, Coast Bush-tit at nest. B, Nest of Dipper 441 

78. A, Western House Wren. B, Western Winter Wren feeding young 454 

79. Young Seattle Wrens 456 

80. Nest and eggs of Sage Thrasher 464 

81. A, Russet-backed Thrush at nest with young. B, Nest and eggs of American Pipit. . 475 
8z. A, Western Bluebird and young at feeding station. B, Western Bluebird at nest 

box 478 

83. A, California Shrike. B, Lutescent Warbler feeding young 490 

f xvi 1 



84. A, Young Cassin's Vireos at nest. B, Western Warbling Vireo at nest 494 

85. A, Nest and eggs of Audubon's Warbler. B, Black-throated Gray Warbler feeding 

young near nest 503 

86. Nest and eggs of Macgillivray 's Warbler 5 10 

87. A, Nest and eggs of Pacific Yellow-throat. B, Male Pacific Yellow-throat feeding 

young . . . 513 

88. A, Young Western Meadowlarks in nest. B, Yellow-headed Blackbird 511 

89. A, Female Red-wing shading young. 5, Nest and eggs of Brewer's Blackbird on 

ground 5x8 

90. A, Nest and eggs of Western Tanager. B, Nest and eggs of Willow Goldfinch. 

Nest built of cotton placed on clothesline for birds 531 

91. A, Female Black-headed Grosbeak at nest with young. B, Male Black-headed 

Grosbeak feeding young 534 

9z. A, Nest and eggs of Brook's Savannah Sparrow. B, Nest and eggs of Western Vesper 

Sparrow 560 

93. A, Nest and eggs of Western Lark Sparrow. B, Shufeldt's Junco on nest 564 

94. Nest and eggs of Shufeldt's Junco 570 

95 . A, Harris's Sparrow. B, Puget Sound Sparrow 577 

96. Nest and eggs of Puget Sound Sparrow 580 

97. A, Young Rusty Song Sparrows in nest. B, Nest and eggs of Rusty Song Sparrow. . . 596 


i. Distribution of returns from ducks banded in Oregon 13 

L. Returns of Cackling Geese banded near the mouth of the Yukon River, Alaska, 

chiefly in the vicinity of Hooper Bay 14 

3. Map showing location of Federal bird refuges in Oregon 43 

4. Distribution of three forms of grouse in Oregon: i, Richardson's Grouse (Dendra- 

gapus obscurus richardsoni); z, Sooty Grouse (D. fuliginosus fuliginosus)', 3, Sierra 
Grouse (D. f. sierrai) 108 

5. Distribution of Ruffed Grouse in Oregon: i, Gray Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus 

umbelloides); z, Oregon Ruffed Grouse (JB. u. sabin^) 114 

6. Distribution of two forms of quail in Oregon: i, Plumed Quail (0. p. picia); i, 

Mountain Quail (Oreortyx picta palmer i) 113 

7. Distribution of three forms of Screech Owls in Oregon : i, MacFarlane's Screech Owl 

(Otus asio macfarlanei); z, Brewster's Screech Owl (0. a. brewsteri); 3, California 
Screech Owl (0. a. bendirei) 334 

8. Distribution of Pygmy Owls in Oregon: i, Rocky Mountain Pygmy Owl (Glauci- 

dium gnoma pinicola); z, Coast Pygmy Owl (G. g. grinnelli); 3, California Pygmy 
Owl (G. g. caltjornicum) 343 

9. Distribution of three forms of woodpeckers in Oregon: i, Harris's Woodpecker 

(Dryobates villosus harrisi); z, Modoc Woodpecker (D. v . orius}\ Rocky Mountain 
Hairy Woodpecker (D. v. monticola) 380 

10. Distribution of three forms of woodpeckers in Oregon: i, Batchelder's Woodpecker 

(Dryobates pubescens leucurus^); z, Gairdner's Woodpecker (D. p. gairdneri); 3, Wil- 
low Woodpecker (D. p. turatit) 384 

11. Distribution of three forms of jays in Oregon: i, Rocky Mountain Jay (^Perisoreus 

canadensis capifalis^); z, Oregon Jay (P. obscurus obscurus^); 3, Gray Jay (P. o. 

griseus^. . 415 

iz. Distribution of three forms of jays in Oregon: i, Coast Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri car- 

bonacea); z, Blue-fronted Jay (C. s. fr ontalis}; 3, Black-headed Jay (C. s. annectens~). 418 

[ xvii ] 



13. Distribution of three forms of jays in Oregon: i, Long-tailed Jay {Apheloconta cali- 

f arnica immanis); 2., Nicasio Jay (A. c. oocleptica); 3, Woodhouse's Jay (/4. c. wood- 
housei) 4 1 - T 

14. Distribution of Bush-tits in Oregon: i, Coast Bush-tit {Psaltriparus minimus mini- 

mus^; 2., California Bush-tit (P. m. californicus~); 3, Lead-colored Bush-tit (P. m. 
plumbeus^) 440 

15. Distribution of creepers in Oregon: i, Rocky Mountain Creeper (Certhia familiaris 

montana); 2., Sierra Creeper (C. f. ^elotes^); 3, California Creeper (C. f. occidentalism . 447 

16. Distribution of two wrens in Oregon: i, Seattle Wren (Thryomanes bewicki calo- 

phonus); z, San Joaquin Wren (T. b. drymoecus) 455 

17. Distribution of two forms of red-wings in Oregon: i, Nevada Red-wing (Agelaius 

pboeniceus nevadensis^); i, Northwestern Red-wing (_A. p. caurimis^) 513 

18. Distribution of three forms of towhees in Oregon: i, Nevada Towhee (Pi^ilo macu- 

latus curtatus}; z, Oregon Towhee (P. m. oregonus*); 3, Sacramento Towhee (P. m. 
falcinellus) 553 

19. Distribution of three forms of fox sparrows in Oregon: i, Slate-colored Fox Sparrow 

{Passerella iliaca scbistacea); x, Warner Mountains Fox Sparrow (P. /'. fulva); 3, 

Yosemite Fox Sparrow (P. i. mariposae) 588 

2.0. Distribution of breeding song sparrows in Oregon: i, Mountain Song Sparrow 
(Mjtlospi%a melodia fallax~); 2., Modoc Song Sparrow (M. m. fisherella); 3, Rusty 
Song Sparrow (M. m. morphna); 4, Mendocino Song Sparrow (M. m. deomnsis") . . 592. 


C^necl<=IUist of the Ipiras or Oregon 


LOONS: Family Gaviidae. 

Lesser Loon Gavia immer elasson 64 

Pacific Loon Gavia arctica pacifica 67 

Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata 68 


GREBES: Family Colymbidae. 

Holboell's Grebe Colymbus grisegena holboelli 70 

Horned Grebe Colymbus auritus 71 

Eared Grebe Colymbus nigricollis calif ornicus 71 

Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis 75 

Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps podiceps 77 

Order PROCELLARIIFORMES: Tube-nosed Swimmers 

ALBATROSSES: Family Diomedeidae. 

Black-footed Albatross Diomedea nigripes 80 

Short-tailed Albatross Diomedea albatrus 80 

SHEARWATERS AND FULMARS: Family Procellariidae. 

Slender-billed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris 81 

Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus 82. 

Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus 83 

New Zealand Shearwater Thyellodroma bulleri 84 

Pacific Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis rodgersi 84 

STORM PETRELS: Family Hydrobatidae. 

Forked-tailed Petrel Oceanodroma furcata 86 

Seal's Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa beali 88 

Order PELECANIFORMES: Totipalmate Swimmers 

PELICANS: Family Pelecanidae. 

White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 90 

California Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis calif ornicus 93 

CORMORANTS: Family Phalacrocoracidae. 

Farallon Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus albociliatus 94 

Brandt's Cormorant Phalacrocorax penicillatus 97 

Baird's Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus resplendens 101 

MAN-'O-WAR-BIRDS: Family Fregatidae. 

Man-o'- war-bird Fregata magnificent 102. 

Order CICONIIFORMES: Herons, Ibises, and Allies 


Treganza's Heron Ardea herodias tregan^ai 103 

California Heron Ardea herodias hyperonca 105 




American Egret 

Brewster's Egret 

Anthony's Green Heron. . . . 
Black-crowned Night Heron 

American Bittern 

Western Least Bittern . . 

Family Ardeidae Continued. 

Casmerodius albus egretta . . . 

Egrefta tkula brewsteri 

Butorides virescens anthonyi . 

Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli 

Botaurus lentiginosus 

Ixobrychus exilis hesperis . . . 

IBISES: Family Threskiornithidae. 
White-faced Glossy Ibis 

Plegadis guarauna 


. 107 
. 109 
. no 
. in 


. 117 

Order ANSERIFORMES: Ducks, Geese, and Swans 


Whistling Swan 

Trumpeter Swan 

Common Canada Goose 

White-cheeked Goose 

Lesser Canada Goose 

Cackling Goose 

Black Brant 

Emperor Goose 

White-fronted Goose 

Lesser Snow Goose 

Ross's Goose 

Common Mallard 


European Widgeon 


American Pintail 

Green-winged Teal 

Blue-winged Teal 

Cinnamon Teal 


Wood Duck 


Ring-necked Duck 


Greater Scaup Duck 

Lesser Scaup Duck 

American Golden-eye 

Barrow's Golden-eye 



Western Harlequin Duck 

White- winged Scoter 

Surf Scoter 

American Scoter 

Ruddy Duck 

Hooded Merganser 

American Merganser 

Red-breasted Merganser 



Cygnus columbianus 

Cygnus buccinator 

Branta canadensis canadensis . . . . 

Branta canadensis occidentalis . . . 

Branta canadsnsis leucopareia . . . 

Branta canadensis minima 

Branta nigricans 

Philacte canagica 

Anser albifrons albifrons 

Chen hyperborea hyperborea 

Chen rossi 

Ana s platyrhynchos platyrhynchos . 

Chaulelasmus streperus 

M.areca penelope 

M.areca americana 

Dafila acuta tzjtziboa 

Nettion carolinense 

Querquedula discors 

Querquedula cyanoptera 

Spatula clypeata 

Aix sponsa 

Nyroca americana 

Nyroca collar is 

Nyroca valisineria 

Nyroca marila 

Nyroca affinis 

Glaucionetta clangula americana . 

Glaucionetta islandica 

Charitonetta albeola 

Clangula hyemalis 

Histrionicus histrionicus pacificus 

Melanitta deglandi 

M.elanitta perspicillata 

Oidemia americana 

Erismatura jamaicensis rubida . . . 

Lophodytes cucullatus 

Mergus merganser americanus .... 

M.ergus senator 


IX 3 

J3 1 

I 3 X 




J 47 
i 5 x 


J 59 



Order FALCONIFORMES: Birds of Prey 

VULTURES: Family Cathartidae. 

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura septentrionalis 179 

California Condor Gymnogyps californianus 180 

KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Accipitriidae. 

White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus majusculus 181 

Goshawk Astur atricapillus 183 

Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter velox velox 184 

Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooper i 185 

Western Red-tailed Hawk Buteo borealis calurus 187 

Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni 189 

American Rough-legged Hawk Buteo lagopus sancti-johannis 190 

Ferruginous Rough-leg Buteo regalis 191 

Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos canadensis 193 

Northern Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus alascanus 195 

Marsh Hawk Circus hudsonius 196 

Osprey Pandion haliaeetus carolinensis 198 

FALCONS: Family Falconidae. 

Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus obsoletus 199 

Prairie Falcon Falco mexicanus zoo 

Duck Hawk Falco peregrinus anatum zoz 

Peale's Falcon Falco peregrinus pealei 2.03 

Black Pigeon Hawk Falco columbarius suckleyi 2.04 

Western Pigeon Hawk Falco columbarius bendirei 105 

Eastern Sparrow Hawk Falco sparverius sparverius zo6 

Order GALLIFORMES: Gallinaceous Birds 

GROUSE: Family Tetraonidae. 

Richardson's Grouse Dendragapus obscurus richardsoni 2.07 

Sooty Grouse Dendragapus fuliginosus fuliginosus 108 

Sierra Grouse Dendragapus fuliginosus sierrae ziz 

Franklin's Grouse Canachites fra nklini 113 

Gray Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus umbelloides 114 

Oregon Ruffed Grouse Bonasa umbellus sabini zi5 

Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Pedioecetes phasianellus columbianus zi6 

Sage Hen Centrocercus urophasianus 117 

PARTRIDGES AND QUAILS: Family Perdicidae. 

European Partridge Perdix perdix perdix 2.19 

Eastern Bob-white Colinus virginianus virginianus 2.2.0 

Valley Quail Lophortyx calif arnica vallicola 2.11 

Mountain Quail Oreortyx picta palmeri ZZ3 

Plumed Quail Oreortyx picta picta 1x5 

PHEASANTS: Family Phasianidae. 

Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus torquatus zz6 

Order GRUIFORMES: Cranes, Rails, and Allies 

CRANES: Family Gruidae. 

Little Brown Crane Grus canadensis canadensis 228 

Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis tabida 119 



RAILS: Family Rallidae. Page 

Virginia Rail Rallus limicola limicola . i}z 

Sora Por^ana Carolina 133 

Yellow Rail Coturnicops noveboracensis 134 

Farallon Rail Creciscus jamaicensis coturniculus 134 

American Coot Fulica americana americana 134 

Order CHARADRIIFORMES: Shore Birds, Gulls, Auks, and Allies 

OYSTER-CATCHERS: Family Haematopodidae. 

Black Oyster-catcher Haematopus bachmani 137 


Western Snowy Plover Cbaradrius nivosus nivosus Z38 

Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus ... . Z39 

Killdeer Oxyechus vociferus vocijerus Z39 

American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica dominica 14^ 

Black-bellied Plover Squatarola squatarola 2.42. 

Surf-bird Apbri^a virgata ... .143 

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpret morinella 2.44 

Black Turnstone Arenaria melanocephala ... .144 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolopacidae. 

Wilson's Snipe Capella delicata 145 

Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus americanus Z48 

Hudsonian Curlew Phaeopus hudsonicus 2.49 

Upland Plover Bartramia longicauda ^51 

Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia . Z5Z 

Western Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria cinnamomea . 154 

Wandering Tattler Heteroscelus incanus 155 

Western Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus inornatus 156 

Greater Yellow-legs Totanus melanoleucus 157 

Lesser Yellow-legs Totanus flavipes .158 

American Knot Calidris canutus rufus Z59 

Aleutian Sandpiper Arquatella ptilocnemis couesi Z59 

Pectoral Sandpiper Pisobia melanotos . z6o 

Baird's Sandpiper Pisobia bairdi z6i 

Least Sandpiper Pisobia minutilla z6i 

Red-backed Sandpiper Pelidna alpina sakhalina z6z 

Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus scolopaceus z63 

Western Sandpiper Ereunetes maurii .... z64 

Marbled God wit Limosa fedoa z65 

Sanderling Crocethia alba z66 

AVOCETS AND STILTS: Family Recurvirostridae. 

Avocet Recurvirostra americana z67 

Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus z69 

PHALAROPES: Family Phalaropodidae. 

Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius Z7Z 

Wilson's Phalarope Steganopus tricolor Z74 

Northern Phalarope Lobipes lobatus Z76 

JAEGERS: Family Stercorariidae. 

Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus Z77 

Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus 2.78 

[ XXli ] 


GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae. P a g c 

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus 179 

Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens z8o 

Western Gull Larus occidentalis occidentalis 182. 

Herring Gull Larus argentatus smithsonianus 185 

Thayer's Gull Larus argentatus thayeri 2.87 

California Gull Larus californicus 188 

Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis 2.91 

Short-billed Gull Larus canus brachyrhynchus 2.94 

Bonaparte's Gull Larus Philadelphia 2.95 

Heermann's Gull Larus heermanni 2.97 

Pacific Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla pollicaris Z98 

Red-legged Kittiwake Rissa brevirostris 199 

Sabine's Gull Xema sabini 199 

Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri 300 

Common Tern Sterna hirundo hirundo 303 

Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea 303 

Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia imperator 304 

Black Tern Chlidonias nigra surinamensis 307 


California Murre Uria aalge calif ornica 309 

Pigeon Guillemot Cepphus columba 311 

Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus 314 

Ancient Murrelet Synthliboramphus antiquus 315 

Cassin's Auklet Ptychoramphus aleuticus 316 

Paroquet Auklet Cyclorrhynchus psittacula 317 

Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata 317 

Horned Puffin Fratercula corniculata 318 

Tufted Puffin Lunda cirrhata 319 

Order COLUMBIFORMES: Pigeons and Doves 

PIGEONS AND DOVES: Family Columbidae. 

Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata fasciata 32.5 

Rock Dove Columba livia livia 32,6 

Western Mourning Dove Zenaidura macroura marginella 32.7 

Order CUCULIFORMES : Cuckoos 

CUCKOOS: Family Cuculidae. 

California Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus occidentalis 32.9 


BARN OWLS: Family Tytonidae. 

Barn Owl Tyto alba pratincola 331 

TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strigidae. 

MacFarlane's Screech Owl Otus asio macfarlanei 334 

Brewster's Screech Owl Otus asio brewstcri 335 

California Screech Owl Otus asio bendirei 335 

Flammulated Screech Owl Otus flammeolus 337 

Montana Horned Owl Bubo virginianus occidentalis 337 

Northwestern Horned Owl Bubo virginianus lagophonus 338 

F xxiii 1 


TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strigidae Continued. 

Dusky Horned Owl 

Pacific Horned Owl 

Snowy Owl 

Rocky Mountain Pygmy Owl 

Coast Pygmy Owl 

California Pygmy Owl 

Western Burrowing Owl 

Northern Spotted Owl 

Great Gray Owl 

Long-eared Owl 

Short-eared Owl 

Richardson's Owl 

Saw-whet Owl . . 

. Bubo virginianus satzratus .... 

. Bubo virginianus pacificus 

. Nyctea nyctea 

. Glaucidium gnoma pinicola . . . . 
. Glaucidium gnoma grinnelli . . . 
. Glaucidium gnoma calif ornicum . 
. Speotyto cunicularia hypugaea . . 

. Strix occidentalis caurina 

. Scotiaptex nebulosa nebulosa . . . 

. Asia wilsonianus 

. Asia flammeus flammeus 

. Cryptoglaux funerea richardsoni . 
. Cryptoglaux acadica acadica . . . 

Order CAPRIMULGIFORMES: Goatsuckers 

GOATSUCKERS: Family Caprimulgidae. 

Nuttall's Poor-will 

Dusky Poor-will 

Pacific Nighthawk 

. Phalaenoptilus nuttalli nuttalli . . . 
. Phalaenoptilus nuttalli californicus 
. Chordeiles minor besperis 

Order MICROPODIFORMES: Swifts and Hummingbirds 

SWIFTS: Family Micropodidae. 

Black Swift 

Vaux's Swift 

White-throated Swift 

HUMMINGBIRDS: Family Trochilidae. 

Black-chinned Hummingbird .... 

Broad-tailed Hummingbird 

Rufous Hummingbird 

Allen's Hummingbird 

Calliope Hummingbird 

. Nephoecetes niger borealis 

. Chaetura vauxi 

. Aeronautes saxatalis saxatalis . . . 

. Archilochus alexandri 

.Selasphorus platycercus platycrrcus 

. Selasphorus rufus 

.Stlasphorus alleni 

. Stellula calliope 

Order CORACIIFORMES: Kingfishers 

KINGFISHERS: Family Alcedinidae. 

Western Belted Kingfisher Megaceryle alcyon caurina. . 

Order PICIFORMES: Woodpeckers 

WOODPECKERS: Family Picidae. 

Northern Flicker 

Northwestern Flicker 

Red-shafted Flicker 

Western Pileated Woodpecker . . . 

California Woodpecker 

Lewis's Woodpecker 

Red-naped Sapsucker 

Northern Red-breasted Sapsucker 
Southern Red-breasted Sapsucker. 

Williamson's Sapsucker 

Harris's Woodpecker 

[ xxiv ] 

. Colaptes auratus luteus 

. Colaptes cafer cafer 

. Colaptes cafer collar is 

. Ceophloeus pileatus picinus 

. Balanosphyra formicivora bairdi . 

. Asyndesmus lewis 

. Sphyrapicus varius nuchalis 

. Sphyrapicus varius ruber 

. Sphyrapicus varius daggetti 

. Sphyrapicus thyroideus thyroideus 
.Dry abates villosus harrisi 



34 1 



. 348 
. 348 













WOODPECKERS: Family Picidae Continued. Page 

Modoc Woodpecker Dry abates villosus orius 381 

Rocky Mountain Hairy Woodpecker .Dryobates villosus monticola 383 

Batchelder's Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens leucurus 383 

Gairdner's Woodpecker Dryobates pubescens gairdneri 384 

Willow Woodpecker Dryobates pubescent turatii 385 

Northern White-headed Woodpecker .Dryobates albolarvatus albolarvatus 386 

Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides arcticus 387 

Alaska Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides tridactylus fasciatus 388 

Order PASSERIFORMES: Perching Birds 

TYRANT FLYCATCHERS: Family Tyrannidae. 

Eastern Kingbird 

Arkansas Kingbird 

Ash-throated Flycatcher 

Say's Phoebe 

Little Flycatcher 

Hammond's Flycatcher 

Wright's Flycatcher 

Gray Flycatcher 

Western Flycatcher 

Western Wood Pewee 

Olive-sided Flycatcher 

LARKS: Family Alaudidae. 

Pallid Horned Lark 

Streaked Horned Lark 

Dusky Horned Lark 

SWALLOWS: Family Hirundinidae. 

Violet-green Swallow 

Tree Swallow 

Bank Swallow 

Rough-winged Swallow 

Barn Swallow 

Northern Cliff Swallow 

Purple Martin 

JAYS AND MAGPIES: Family Corvidae. 

Rocky Mountain Jay 

Oregon Jay 

Gray Jay 

Coast Jay 

Blue-fronted Jay 

Black-headed Jay 

Long-tailed Jay 

Nicasio Jay 

Woodhouse's Jay 

American Magpie 

American Raven 

Western Crow 

Northwestern Crow 

Pinon Jay 

Clark's Nutcracker. . 

. Tyrannus tyrannus 389 

. Tyrannus verticalis 390 

.Myiarchus cinerascens cinerascens 391 

.Sayornis say a say a 393 

.Empidonax trailli brews teri 394 

.Empidonax hammondi 395 

. Empidonax wrighti 396 

. Empidonax griseus 397 

.Empidonax difficilis difficilis 398 

.Myiochanes richardsoni richardsoni 399 

. Nuttallornis mesoleucus 400 

.Otocoris alpestris arcticola 401 

. Otocoris alpestris strigata 402. 

. Otocoris alpestris merrilli 403 

. Tachycineta thalassina lepida 404 

. Iridoprocne bicolor 406 

. Riparia riparia riparia 407 

. Stelgidopteryx ruficollis serripennis 408 

. Hirundo erythrogaster 409 

. Petrochelidon albifrons albifrons 411 

. Progne subis subis 414 

. Perisoreus canadensis capitalis 415 

. Perisoreus obscurus obscurus 416 

. Perisoreus obscurus griseus 416 

.Cyanocitta stelleri carbonacea 417 

.Cyanocitta stelleri frontalis 419 

. Cyanocitta stelleri annectens 42.0 

.Aphelocoma calif ornica immanis 4x1 

. Aphelocoma calif ornica oocleptica 411 

. Aphelocoma calif ornica woodhousei 413 

. Pica pica hudsonia 4x3 

. Corvus cor ax sinuatus 4x6 

. Corvus brachyrhynchos hesperis 4x7 

. Corvus brachyrhynchos caurinus 4x9 

.Cyanocephalus cyanocephalus 430 

. Nucifraga columbiana 43 1 




Long-tailed Chickadee 

Oregon Chickadee 

Grinnell's Chickadee 

Short-tailed Chickadee 

Chestnut-backed Chickadee 

Oregon Titmouse 

Gray Titmouse 

Coast Bush-tit 

California Bush-tit 

Lead-colored Bush-tit 

NUTHATCHES: Family Sittidae. 

Rocky Mountain Nuthatch 

Slender-billed Nuthatch 

Red-breasted Nuthatch 

Black-eared Nuthatch 

CREEPERS: Family Certhiidae. 

Rocky Mountain Creeper 

Sierra Creeper 
California Creeper 

WREN-TITS: Family Chamaeidae. 
Coast Wren-tit 
Pallid Wren-tit 

DIPPERS: Family Cinclidae. 

WRENS: Family Troglodytidae. 
Western House Wren 
Western Winter Wren 
Seattle Wren 
San Joaquin Wren 
Western Marsh Wren 
Tule Wren 
Dotted Wren 
Common Rock Wren . . 

. Penthestes atricapillus septentrionalis 
. . Penthestes atricapillus occidentalis . . . 

. . Penthestes gambeli grinnelli 

. . Penthestes gambeli abbreviatus 

. . Penthestes rufescens rufescens 

. . Baeolophus inornatus sequestratus . . . 

. . Baeolophus inornatus griseus 

. . Psaltriparus minimus minimus 

. . Psaltriparus minimus californicus . . . 
. . Psaltriparus minimus plumbeus 

. . Sitta carolinensis nelsoni 

. . Sitta carolinensis aculeata 

. . Sitta canadensis 

. . Sitta pygmaea melanotis 

. . Certhia familiar is montana 

. . Certhia familiar is Delates 

. . Certhia familiar is occidentalis 

. . Chamaea fasciata phaea 

. . Chamaea fasciata henshawi 

. . Cinclus mexicanus unicolor , . 


Western Mockingbird 


Sage Thrasher 

THRUSHES: Family Turdidae. 

Northwestern Robin 

Western Robin 

Pacific Varied Thrush 

Northern Varied Thrush . . . 

Alaska Hermit Thrush .... 

Dwarf Hermit Thrush 

Monterey Hermit Thrush . . 

Sierra Hermit Thrush 

Audubon's Hermit Thrush. 

Russet-backed Thrush 

Olive-backed Thrush 

Willow Thrush . . 

Troglodytes aedon parkmani 

Nannus hiemalis pacificus 

Thryomanes bewicki calophonus . . . 

Thryomanes bewicki drymoecus . . . 

Telmatodytes palustris plesius . . . 

Telmatodytes palustris paludicola 

Catherpes mexicanus punctulatus . 

Salpinctes obsoletus obsoletus .... 

Family Mimidae. 

Mimus polyglottos leucopterus . . . 

Dumetella carolinensis 

Oreoscoptes montanus 

Turdus migrator ius caurinus .... 

Turdus migratorius propinquus . . . 

Ixoreus naevius naevius 

Ixoreus naevius meruloides 

Hylocichla guttata guttata 

Hylocichla guttata nanus 

Hylocichla guttata slevini 

Hylocichla guttata sequoiensis . . . 

Hylocichla guttata auduboni .... 

Hylocichla ustulata ustulata .... 

Hylocichla ustulata swainsoni . . . 

Hylocichla fuscescens salicicola . . 


44 z 





45 1 








THRUSHES: Family Turdidae Continued. 

Western Bluebird 

Mountain Bluebird 

Townsend's Solitaire 

KINGLETS: Family Sylviidae. 

Western Golden-crowned Kinglet 
Western Ruby-crowned Kinglet. . 
Sitka Kinglet 

PIPITS: Family Motacillidae. 

American Pipit 

WAXWINGS: Family Bombycillidae. 

Bohemian Waxwing 

Cedar Waxwing 

SHRIKES: Family Laniidae. 

Northwestern Shrike 

California Shrike 

STARLINGS: Family Sturnidae. 


Crested Mynah 

VIREOS: FAMILY Vireonidae. 

Mutton's Vireo 

Cassin's Vireo 

Red-eyed Vireo 

Western Warbling Vireo 

. Sialia mexicana occidentalis 

. Sialia currucoides 

. M-yadestes townsendi 

. Regulus satrapa olivaceus 

. Corthylio calendula cineraceus .... 
. Corthylio calendula grinnelli 

. Anthus spinoletta rubescens 

. Bomby cilia garrula pallidiceps . . . 
. Bomby cilia cedrorum 

. Lanius borealis invictus 

. Lanius ludovicianus gambeli .... 

. Sturnus vulgar is vulgar is 

. Aethiopsar cristatellus cristatellus 

. Vireo buttoni buttoni 

. Vireo solitarius cassini 

. Vireo olivaceus 

. Vireo gilvus swainsoni 

WOOD WARBLERS: Family Compsothlypidae. 

Orange-crowned Warbler 

Lutescent Warbler 

Calaveras Warbler 

Eastern Yellow Warbler 

Alaska Yellow Warbler 

Myrtle Warbler 

Audubon's Warbler 

Black-throated Gray Warbler . 

Townsend's Warbler 

Hermit Warbler 

Western Palm Warbler 

Grinnell's Water Thrush 

Macgillivray's Warbler 

Western Yellow-throat 

Pacific Yellow-throat 

Long-tailed Chat 

Wilson's Warbler 

Northern Pileolated Warbler . 
Golden Pileolated Warbler . . 

Vermivora celata celata 

. Vermivora celata lutescens 

. Vermivora ruficapilla ridgwayi . . . 

. Dendroica aestiva aestiva 

. Dendroica aestiva rubiginosa .... 

. Dendroica coronata 

. Dendroica auduboni auduboni . . . . 

. Dendroica nigrescens 

. Dendroica townsendi 

. Dendroica occidentalis 

. Dendroica palmarum palmarum . . 
. Seiurus noveboracensis notabilis . . 

. Oporornis tolmiei 

. Geothlypis trichas occidentalis . . . 

. Geothlypis trichas ari^ela 

. Icteria virens longicauda 

. Wilsonia pusilla pusilla 

. Wilsonia pusilla pileolata 

. Wilsonia pusilla chryseola 

. Setophaga ruticilla 

. Passer domes ticus domesticus 

American Redstart 

WEAVER FINCHES: Family Ploceidae. 

English Sparrow 


Bobolink Dolichonyx ory^ivorus 

Western Meado wlark Sturnella neglecta 

Yellow-headed Blackbird Xanthocepkalus xanthocephalus . . 



. 480 

. 481 

. 482. 

. 483 

. 484 



49 1 
49 1 





5 12 - 

5 J 7 

5 2 - 

[ xxvii ] 



Nevada Red-wing 

Northwestern Red-wing 

Tri-colored Red-wing 

Bullock's Oriole 

Brewer's Blackbird 

Nevada Cowbird 

TANAGERS: Family Thraupidae. 

Western Tanager 


Black-headed Grosbeak 

Lazuli Bunting 

Western Evening Grosbeak 

California Purple Finch 

Cassin's Purple Finch 

Common House Finch 

Alaska Pine Grosbeak 

Rocky Mountain Pine Grosbeak . 

Hepburn's Rosy Finch 

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch 

Black Rosy Finch 

Common Redpoll 

Northern Pine Siskin 

Pale Goldfinch 

Willow Goldfinch 

Green-backed Goldfinch 

Sitka Crossbill 

Bendire's Crossbill 

White-winged Crossbill 

Green-tailed Towhee 

Nevada Towhee 

Oregon Towhee 

Sacramento Towhee 

Oregon Brown Towhee 

Western Savannah Sparrow 

Aleutian Savannah Sparrow 

Nevada Savannah Sparrow 

Brook's Savannah Sparrow 

Bryant's Sparrow 

Western Grasshopper Sparrow. . . 

Oregon Vesper Sparrow 

Western Vesper Sparrow 

Western Lark Sparrow 

Desert Sparrow 

Northern Sage Sparrow 

Slate-colored Junco 

Oregon Junco 

Shufeldt's Junco 

Montana Junco 

Thurber's Junco 

Western Tree Sparrow 

Western Chipping Sparrow 

Brewer's Sparrow 

[ xxviii ] 

. . . . Agelaius phoeniceus nevadensis 

. . . . Agelaius phoeniceus caurinus 

. . . . Agelaius tricolor 

. . . . Icterus bullocki 

. . . . Euphagus cyanocephalus 

. . . . Molothrus ater artemisiae 

. . . . Piranga ludoviciana 

BUNTINGS: Family Fringillidae. 

. . . . Hedymeles melanocephalus melanocephalus . 

. . . . Passer ina amoena 

. . . Hesperiphona vesper tina brooksi 

. . . . Carpodacus purpureus californicus 

. . . . Carpodacus cassini 

. . . . Carpodacus mexicanus frontalis 

. . . . Pinicola enucleator alascensis 

. . . . Pinicola enucleator montana 

. . . . Leucosticte tephrocotis litter alis 

. . . . Leucosticte tephrocotis tephrocotis 

. . . . Leucosticte atrata 

. . . . Acanthi s linaria linaria 

. . . . Spinus pinus pinus 

. . . . Spinus tristis pallidus 

. . . . Spinus tristis salicamans 

. . . . Spinus psaltria hesperophilus 

. . . . Loxia curvirostra sitkensis 

. . . . Loxia curvirostra bendirei 

. . . . Loxia leucoptera 

. . . . Oberholstria chlorura 

. . . . Pipilo maculatus curtatus 

. . . . Pipilo maculatus oregonus 

. . . . Pipilo maculatus jalcinellus 

. . . . Pipilo fuscus bullatus 

. . . . Passerculus sandwichensis alaudinus .... 

... Passerculus sandwichensis sandwichensis . , 
. . . . Passerculus sandwichensis nevadensis .... 

. . . Passerculus sandwichensis brooksi 

. . . . Passerculus sandwichensis bryanti 

. . . . Ammodramus savannarum bimaculatus . . . 

. . . . Pooecetes gramineus affinis 

. . . . Pooecetes gramineus confinis 

. . . . Chondestes grammacus strigatus 

. . . . Amphispi^a bilineata deserticola 

. . . . Amphispi^a nevadensis nevadensis 

. . . .Junco hyemalis hyemalis 

. . . .Junco oreganus oreganus 

. . . .Junco oreganus shufeldti 

. . . .Junco oreganus montanus 

. . . .Junco oreganus thurberi 

. . . . Spi^ella arborea ochracea 

. . . Spi^ella passerina ari^pnae 

. . . . Spi^ella brewer i brewer i 




. 516 

S 2 -? 


53 1 







54 1 
. 541 




54 6 




55 1 

55 1 








. 561 

. 562. 



. 568 
. 569 








Harris's Sparrow 

White-crowned Sparrow 

Gambel's Sparrow 

Puget Sound Sparrow 

Golden-crowned Sparrow 

White-throated Sparrow 

Alberta Fox Sparrow 

Shumagin Fox Sparrow 

Kodiak Fox Sparrow 

Valdez Fox Sparrow 

Yakutat Fox Sparrow 

Townsend's Fox Sparrow 

Sooty Fox Sparrow 

Slate-colored Fox Sparrow 

Warner Mountains Fox Sparrow . 

Yosemite Fox Sparrow 

Lincoln's Sparrow 

Forbush's Sparrow 

Mountain Song Sparrow 

Modoc Song Sparrow 

Merrill's Song Sparrow 

Yakutat Song Sparrow 

Rusty Song Sparrow 

Mendocino Song Sparrow 

Alaska Longspur 

Eastern Snow Bunting 

BUNTINGS: Family Fringillidae Continued. 

... Zonotrichia querula 

. . . . Zonotrichia leucopbrys leucophrys 

. . . . Zonotrichia leucophrys gambeli 

. . . . Zonotrichia leucophrys pugetensis 

... Zonotrichia coronata 

. . Zonotrichia albicollis 

... Passerella iliaca altivagans 

... Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis 

... Passerella iliaca insular is 

. . . Passerella iliaca sinuosa 

. . . Passerella iliaca annectens 

... Passerella iliaca townsendi 

. . . Passerella iliaca fuliginosa 

. . . Passerella iliaca schistacea 

. . . Passerella iliaca fulva 

. . . Passerella iliaca mariposae 

. . . M.elospi%a lincolni lincolni 

. . M.elospi^a lincolni gracilis 

. . . Melospi^a melodia fallax 

. . . Melospi^a melodia fisherella 

. . . M.elospi^a melodia merrilli 

. . . M.elospi%a melodia caurina 

. . . Melospi^a melodia morphna 

. . Melospi^a melodia cleonensis 

. . . Calcarius lapponicus alascensis 

. . . Plectrophenax nivalis nivalis 





. 581 
. 581 


. 584 


. 586 

. 586 


59 1 
59 1 


Flat-billed Albatross 

American Sooty Albatross 

Black-vented Shearwater 

Slender-billed Fulmar 

Giant Fulmar 

Leach's Petrel 

Ashy Petrel 

Greater Snow Goose 

Red-legged Black Duck 

Red-bellied Hawk 

Richardson's Pigeon Hawk 

Northern White-tailed Ptarmigan. 

Greater Prairie Chicken 

California Quail 

Whooping Crane 

American Oyster-catcher 

European Turnstone 

Semipalmated Sandpiper 

Long-tailed Jaeger 

Gull-billed Tern 

Temminck's Murrelet . . 

. Thalassogeron chrysostomus .... 
. Phoebetria palpebrata auduboni . 

. Puffinus opisthomelas 

. Priocella antarctica 

. M.acronectes giganteus 

. Oceanodroma leucorhoa leucorhoa . 

. Oceanodroma homochroa 

. Chen hyperborea atlantica 

. Anas rubripes rubripes 

. Buteo lineatus elegans 

. Falco columbarius richardsoni . . 

. Lagopus leucurus leucurus 

Tympanuchus cupido americanus 
. Lophortyx calif ornica calif arnica 

. Grus americana 

. Haematopus palliatus palliatus . 

. Arenaria inter pres inter pres 

. Ereunetes pusillus 

. Stercorarius longicaudus 

. Gelochelidon nilotica aranea .... 
. Synthliboramphus ivumi%u%ume . 






















xxix ] 


Morcom's Hummingbird 

Nuttall's Woodpecker 

Cassin's Kingbird 

Black Phoebe 

Yellow-billed Magpie 

Nicasio Wren 

Eastern Ruby-crowned Kinglet 

Magnolia Warbler 

Bicolored Red-wing 

Kodiak Pine Grosbeak 

Baird's Sparrow 

Western Field Sparrow 

.Atthis helots a morcomi {_ = helots a\ 

. Dry abates nuttalli 

. Tyrannus vociferans 

. Sayornis nigricans nigricans 

. Pica nuttalli 

. Thryomanes bewicki marinensis . . . 

. Corthylio calendula calendula 

. Dendroica magnolia 

. Agelaius phoeniceus californicus . . . 

. Pinicola enucleator flammula 

. Ammodramus bairdi 

. Spi%ella pusilla arenacea 


. 604 
. 604 
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Something /Voout Ipiras as a Oroup 

No FORM of wildlife has such a popular appeal to the general public as 
birds, and none a greater fascination. This is due to the combination of 
characters that make them spectacular, noticed even by those who are not 
particularly interested in the out-of-doors. The activity, color, song, nest 
building, care of the young, and migration of birds all combine to bring 
them to popular attention. 

Birds are easily characterized, the old definition that "A bird is an 
animal with feathers" being still perfectly sound biologically and more 
easily remembered than more involved statements of structural differences. 

In comparison with other groups, birds are remarkably homogenous 
a fact that for taxonomic purposes has led to comparative exaggeration of 
the differentiating characters present and any who doubt it have only 
to pluck a few birds and view them without their feathered coverings. 
"Fine feathers" do "make fine birds," for without the feathers the 
brilliant orioles have a remarkable superficial resemblance to the dull- 
colored sparrows. Examining plucked birds and forgetting skeletal and 
internal characters, we see that aside from feathers the chief differences 
are those of size, length of neck, and length, size, and shape of bills, legs, 
and feet. Differences in the abundance, color, structure, size, and shape 
of the feathers, particularly those of the head, wings, and tail, combined 
with the structural variations just mentioned give us the remarkable 
variety of birds with which we are privileged to be acquainted. 

Aside from these differences in superficial appearance, birds have certain 
common characters that set them apart from other groups. All the well- 
known birds have skeletons of strong, light bones with the forelimbs 
modified into organs of flight. Examining the skeleton, we find that the 
bones in the fingers and wrists are more or less fused to form at the 
extremity of the wing a single strong bone that supports the primaries, 
the feathers chiefly used in flight. The rest of the wing is composed of the 
secondaries, which are on the forearm, and the tertials, inserted in the 
upper arm. These three groups of feathers compose the fan, or wing, 
surface that makes flight possible. The smaller feathers at the base of 
the wing are chiefly valuable for form and covering. The great differences 
in wing shape, from the shortly rounded wings of the rails, which are 
scarcely able to sustain the flight of the birds, to the enormously elongated 
flight organs of the albatross, are produced by the variation in number, 
shape, and comparative length of the flight feathers. 


The bills also are variable, according to the feeding needs and feeding 
habits of the species. Some striking examples of this variation may be 
noted in the following forms: Swallows have an exceedingly weak bill 
with an enormous gape that allows them to scoop up small insects while 
in full flight. Nighthawks' bills are quite similar. Warblers are equipped 
with slender, comparatively weak bills with which they pick small in- 
sects from foliage and flowers. Sparrows, which are generally seed eaters, 
possess powerful, cone-shaped beaks that are used in cracking hard seeds 
and obtaining the meat from within. Hawks and owls are provided with 
powerful hooked upper mandibles for tearing the flesh of their prey. 
Ducks have wide, shovellike bills for scooping seeds, plant parts, and 
small animal life out of the mud. Sometimes these bills are still further 
adapted to this particular work by the presence of strainers and combs 
that sift out and retain insects and other food when mud and water are 
forced through them. The Shoveller, or Spoonbill, is a conspicuous ex- 
ample of this type. Herons have long, sharp javelins with which they 
stab their prey with lightninglike thrusts. Anyone who has watched a 
Great Blue Heron impale an incautious fish will appreciate the power of 
this equipment. The beak, which is long and needle sharp, is driven for- 
ward by the long neck as if unleashed from a spring. Seldom does the 
luckless fish, frog, or crustacean manage to move fast enough to escape 
the deadly thrust. These examples indicate generally a wide adaptation 
in birds' bills for the particular use to which they are put. Instances of 
special adaptation could be cited almost indefinitely to further elaborate 
this point. 

Feet and legs also are modified according to the needs of the different 
species. Those of the swallows, swifts, and nighthawks are small and 
weak, as these birds are constantly on the wing and do all their feeding 
in the air. Obviously they do not need the strength in these organs that 
is necessary in those of other species with different feeding habits. Most 
of the sparrows, which feed on the ground, have rather stout legs and feet 
equipped with powerful and elongated claws for use in scratching seeds 
from the earth. Herons, ibises, and many of the shore birds have long 
legs and elongated toes with which they can wade in the water and readily 
walk in the soft mud. Rails have exceedingly long toes to enable them 
to run about on the floating vegetation of the marshes. Ducks, cor- 
morants, loons, and other water birds have webs between the toes, which 
provide efficient paddles for swimming and diving. Coots have a curious 
adaptation of this webbed-foot principle: instead of the webs extending 
from toe to toe, as in most other swimming birds of Oregon, the webs are 
flaps on each side of the toe that close as the foot is drawn forward and 
open as it is pushed back. Hawks and owls, as a group, have strong feet 
armed with powerful talons for striking and carrying their prey. In this 
group the Osprey, which lives largely on fish, has a further curious 


adaptation of the foot. On the inner side of the toes and on the sole of 
the foot there are knoblike protuberances that assist in catching and 
holding the prey. 


ANY LIVING, moving thing is of interest to children. If the activity is 
correlated with brilliant color, the activity itself attracts old as well as 
young. When, in addition to the movement and coloration of birds, we 
consider their home life, their courting, and their feeding habits, often 
carried on close to human habitations, we can understand in some measure 
the strength of their appeal to popular imagination. Some species have 
so adapted themselves to human dwellings and other buildings that they 
readily avail themselves of artificial facilities provided intentionally or 
otherwise for their use. Martins, Tree Swallows, and Violet-green Swal- 
lows frequently occupy nest boxes placed for them. Bluebirds and House 
Wrens do so regularly. Robins, Phoebes, Starlings, and English Sparrows 
avail themselves of crevices or projections about buildings as nesting 
places. The Barn Swallow has so adapted itself to human habitations 
that it commonly makes its cup-shaped nest about outbuildings. Many 
birds will use material, such as string, wool, cotton, and rags, that is pro- 
vided them for nest building; and a wide variety of species will visit feed- 
ing stations where suet, fruit, and seeds are available. This has led many 
friends of the birds to erect more or less elaborate feeding stations for 
attracting them to window ledges or nearby points where their daily 
activities can be watched. 


THE COLORS of birds, particularly those of brilliant hues, have long excited 
interest. Although the dull-colored species far outnumber the bright 
ones, the latter arouse popular interest. The bright hues and intricate 
patterns of many of the warblers always attract attention, as do the 
flaming colors of the orioles. The Scarlet Tanager and the flame-crested 
Cardinal are ever conspicuous, whereas the myriad dull-colored sparrows 
pass almost entirely unnoticed. Many birds of somber color, however, 
have intricate patterns and delicate shadings that are beautiful in them- 
selves. The modestly colored Pintail drake, for example, when observed 
closely, is seen to be marked with delicate lines and vermiculations in a 
complicated pattern that becomes more appealing as one studies it. Simi- 
larly, the soft browns of the Bohemian Waxwing, contrasted only with 
the yellow bar on the tail and the brilliant red wax tips on the wing 
feathers, shade almost imperceptibly from one soft pastel tint into another 
in one of the most beautiful color combinations to be found in an American 
bird. The brilliant markings of the drake Wood Duck always excite in- 


terest, but few notice the intricate patterns in soft grays and whites that 
decorate a male Gadwall's breast. 

Since Darwin propounded his theories of protective coloration and 
sexual selection many other theories have been advanced to account for 
the remarkable color patterns and plumage variations to be found in 
birds. In a book of this kind there can be little more than mention of 
those theories more commonly considered as accounting for these color 
patterns. They are all interesting, but no one theory has been accepted 
in its entirety by all biologists. 

The theory of protective coloration assumes that a bird or other animal 
may be colored so like the background against which it habitually lives 
that it escapes detection as long as it remains motionless. Striking ex- 
amples are seen in grouse and prairie chickens, which flatten themselves 
into invisibility against the ground as long as they do not move. The 
longitudinal brown and yellow stripes of bitterns strikingly simulate the 
light and shadows of the reed patches in which they habitually live. 
Even brilliantly colored birds may be protected by the breaking-up of the 
pattern. For example, a White-headed Woodpecker might be a con- 
spicuous bird, but in many situations the striking contrast between the 
black body and white head actually seems to behead the bird and make 
it appear a black or white spot against the background. Even such bril- 
liantly colored birds as the tanagers and the warblers may be concealed 
by their pattern as long as they remain motionless in the treetops, the 
contrasting colors having the effect of breaking up the outline and render- 
ing the bird more difficult to see. The art of camouflage, developed to a 
considerable degree in military and naval operations in the Great War, is 
recognition of this fact. 

The theory of sexual selection was advanced to account for the brilliant 
colors of the male birds. The theory presupposes that by conscious or 
unconscious selection of the more strikingly marked males, special char- 
acters or brilliant colors have been gradually developed over a long time. 
This might account for the crests of some species of birds, the aigrettes 
and plumes of some of the herons, the wattles and combs of the turkeys, 
and the brilliantly colored air sacs of the grouse. The same theory also 
has been used to account for the development of highly colored beaks and 
varied feathers in many species. 

The latest theory, advanced by Abbott H. Thayer, is that of counter 
shading. Thayer, artist and demonstrator, pointed out the prevalence of 
dark backs and light under parts in the animal world and demonstrated 
that such a pattern had some concealing value against almost any back- 
ground in comparison with a solid-colored body of the same size and 

Many marks in birds may not be accounted for by any of the above 
theories, and for these, the theory of recognition marks or revealing 


characters has been advanced. The white tail feathers of juncos and 
meadowlarks and the conspicuous rump patches of many birds when 
taking flight, for example, are supposed to be of value in directing birds 
of similar species or in affording recognition marks to guide others of the 
same species. 

Physically, color is produced in bird feathers by two methods: first, by 
pigmentation, in which color pigments are actually deposited in the 
feathers as they grow; and second, by feather structure, in which the 
feather is so developed as to produce myriads of tiny prisms that break 
up and reflect the light beams. These prisms against a background of dark- 
colored pigments produce the ever-changing iridescent gorgets of the 
hummers and the evanescent purple, bronze, and green reflections in some 
of the blackbirds, ducks, and other species. 


ONE OF the chief interests in birds is afforded by their songs. Many 
species, in addition to call and alarm notes, have developed songs of 
varied length, intensity, and complexity. These are a study in themselves, 
and many books and articles have been written about different methods 
of recording and studying them. Those interested in following this sub- 
ject further should consult Saunder's books on bird song (cited in Bibli- 

It is widely believed that there are not so many song birds present in 
the western as in the eastern part of the country. It is true that Cardinals, 
Eastern Mockingbirds, Brown Thrashers, Catbirds, Carolina Wrens, and 
others that make up the great bird choruses in towns and about homes in 
eastern states are absent on the Pacific Coast. About most of the towns 
are found only the Northwestern and Western Robins, Bullock's Orioles, 
Black-headed Grosbeaks, Western House Wrens, Western Meadowlarks, 
and similar species; but in the mountains there are songsters equal to any 
to be found elsewhere. Along mountain streams, the beautiful song of the 
Dipper, or Water Ouzel, may be heard above the noise of the tumbling 
waters; and in the Cascades and the ranges in eastern Oregon the loud, 
clear song of the Fox Sparrow rings from every thicket. Townsend's 
Solitaire, a slim, trim, shy, gray bird of the mountain tops and juniper 
thickets, has a song that cannot be excelled by any other bird in America; 
and the second-growth thickets of spruce and fir along the summit of the 
Cascades and the tangled jungles of salmonberry in the stream bottoms 
ring with the weird minor melodies of the Hermit and Russet-backed 
Thrushes, premier songsters of the American woodlands. 

Other bird voices are attractive, although they may not be called songs. 
The wild, free call of the Olive-sided Flycatcher, flung from a lofty perch 
on the top of a dead snag on a mountain slope, or that of the Pileated 


Woodpecker, expresses the very spirit of the untamed mountains; and the 
ringing laugh of the loon, still heard on some coastal and mountain lakes, 
is one of the most thrilling sounds in the Oregon out-of-doors. There are 
few whose imagination is not stimulated by the strident cries of the 
V-shaped flocks of wild geese passing far overhead or by the trumpet calls 
of the Sandhill Cranes that continue to float back to earth long after the 
circling flocks have passed from sight into the heavens. 


THE NEST-BUILDING habit of birds still arouses a great deal of popular 
interest. The nests may vary from none at all to the complicated apart- 
ment-house structures built by the weaver finches of Africa. Among the 
birds that build no nests are many shore birds that lay their eggs on the 
open ground or in shallow depressions, possibly lined with a few bits of 
vegetation or small pebbles; the nighthawks that deposit their two eggs 
either on the ground or on the roofs of buildings in cities; and the seafowl, 
such as murres, that select bare ledges of rock on precipitous cliffs for 
their eggs, which, sharply pointed at one end, roll around and around on 
the sharp point and thus often are prevented from being blown or knocked 
from the cliffs. 

Many nesting habits have been developed apparently independently in 
many sections of bird families. Birds from such widely separated families 
as kingfishers, petrels, auklets, puffins, and Bank and Rough-winged 
Swallows nest in burrows in the ground, while in North Portland and a 
few other localities in Oregon the Red-shafted Flickers, despite the 
abundance of trees to furnish normal nesting sites, have abandoned their 
traditional wooden apartment houses for holes excavated in clay banks. 

Holes in trees are popular nesting sites with birds. Birds of the wood- 
pecker and nuthatch families do their own construction work, the wood- 
peckers being equipped with up-to-date wood-working tools that are 
especially developed for collecting wood-boring insects and excavating 
holes for nest sites. Many other species of birds later appropriate the 
abandoned woodpecker holes or make use of natural cavities in the trees. 
In Oregon, such widely varied species as owls, hawks, chickadees, blue- 
birds, tree swallows, and wood ducks are regular tenants of such structures. 

Many small birds nest on the ground, building more or less complicated 
structures in which to lay their eggs. Numerous sparrows and warblers 
belong in this class, weaving cup-shaped nests in shallow depressions in 
the ground. Many ducks do likewise, covering the eggs with down 
plucked from their own breasts. A great variety of other birds occa- 
sionally or habitually build ground nests. 

Most of the more familiar birds, however, build structures of one kind 
or another, in trees, in bushes, or even in herbaceous plants. They may 


vary in design from the Mourning Dove's flimsy platform of twigs, which 
in some miraculous manner holds the eggs and the young squabs, to the 
neatly woven pensile nests of the orioles. There are many different types 
of tree nests. Doves and herons build flimsy platforms of twigs. Crows, 
jays, and hawks build substantial nests of sticks that are more or less 
completely lined with vegetable fibers, leaves, or rootlets. Sparrows, 
vireos, and warblers build neat nests of finer vegetation, often mixed with 
wool, hair, cotton, string, or other similar material. The Chipping 
Sparrow, for example, is widely known among small boys as the "horse- 
hair bird" because it lines its nest with horsehair, while the small fly- 
catchers' nests are frequently so covered with lichen as to resemble from 
below a lichen-clad knot. Others, including robins and the varied 
thrushes, build nests of vegetable matter lined with mud. These struc- 
tures are described in more detail under each species. The object of this 
short discussion is to call attention to the great variation in nesting 
habits and behavior of the common birds of the State. 


YOUNG BIRDS are generally divided into two classes: precocial, those with 
the ability to feed and care for themselves from the time of hatching; and 
altricial, those requiring feeding by the parents. 

Precocial birds, represented by the grouse, shore birds, and waterfowl, 
are able to run about and gather their own food within a few hours after 
kicking themselves from the shell. In proportion to the size of the bird, 
the eggs in this group are large and the period of incubation long, so that 
the young are comparatively well developed when they emerge from the 
shells. Young waterfowl and shore birds immediately take to the water 
or the water's edge. Those that swim are very skillful in concealing 
themselves in the aquatic vegetation or by submerging with just the tip 
of the bill showing. Small sandpipers match so perfectly the surround- 
ings of their shore-line habitat that as long as they remain motionless 
they are invisible to human eyes. Young grouse have the same advantage, 
but in addition their wing quills grow with such amazing rapidity that 
they are able to fly by the time they are ten days old. 

Altricial birds, born helpless and unable to move about, are fed for 
varying periods of time by the parents. Small songbirds are normally fed 
in the nest for approximately two weeks and are frequently provided for 
by the parents for a few days after they begin to try their wings. Many 
varied groups of birds carry food to their young. Among songbirds it is 
the common practice of the parents to gather insects or seeds and feed 
them directly to the young birds by inserting them into the open mouths 
and pushing them well down the throat, so that the nestlings swallow 
them almost automatically. Young of this class are helpless, homely bits 


of flesh scantily decorated with a little fuzz or down and at hatching 
capable only of raising their heads and opening their mouths at the 
slightest sound. They grow rapidly, however, and in a few days are 
scrambling about the nest competing with each other for the food supply. 
The quantity of food collected and brought to the young is astonishing. 
To some nests that have been watched, the adults have been observed to 
make as many as 344 feeding visits a day. Usually both parents take part 
in this arduous duty, although there is considerable temperamental and 
individual variation. In the majority of cases the female is the more 
active at this task, although at individual nests males have been observed 
carrying the heavy end of the job. 

In addition to direct feeding, which occurs with the majority of song- 
birds, the helplessness of young birds and the type of feeding activity 
have brought the development of a number of peculiar methods of trans- 
ferring the food from the parents to the young. In the pelican family, 
for example, fishes are swallowed by the adult bird, which returns to the 
nest heavily laden. On arriving, the huge bill is opened and the one or 
two homely, fuzzy youngsters insert their heads far down the throat of 
the parent to obtain the partly digested food. Adult herons partly digest 
frogs, crustaceans, and small fishes before arrival at the nest. There the 
youngsters seize the parent's bill crosswise, exactly as if they were at- 
tempting to cut it off with a pair of scissors. When the two birds are 
locked together, the parent goes through a series of contortions and 
pumping motions that eventually result in bringing up a mass of partly 
digested food that is transferred to the mouth of the young bird as its bill 
slides along that of the adult towards the tip. The hummers expertly 
feed their young by thrusting their long beaks far down the throats of 
the babies. The nestlings are so tiny and the bill is so sharp and long 
that an observer seeing a performance for the first time half fearfully 
expects to see the baby bird completely impaled. Many sparrows carry 
seeds in their throats and gullets, bringing the softened material up into 
their mouths to feed the young birds on their return to the nest. Hawks 
and owls tear up their prey for the younger birds, feeding them small bits 
of flesh at a time, although these ferocious and stoutly built youngsters 
soon learn to do their own carving. 

There are many interesting things going on about the nest of any bird; 
the individual reactions of the parents, their battles with real or potential 
enemies, the feeding of the young, and the sanitation of the nest make 
up a kaleidoscopic picture that is intensely fascinating to an observer. 
In the past few years a great deal has been accomplished by erecting 
blinds close to nests and watching at short range the varied activities. 
Occasionally a pair of birds refuses to become reconciled to the presence 
of such a blind, but in the majority of cases they quickly become accus- 
tomed to it and in some instances show an astonishing indifference. An 


observer who watches from one of these blinds soon learns that each adult 
has built up a stereotyped behavior. It habitually forages in the same 
area and comes to and leaves the nest by the same route, even alighting 
on the same twigs each time. In some individuals, this response becomes 
almost automatic and very firmly fixed. Gabrielson, in preparing to watch 
a House Wren, inadvertently placed his blind across the out-bound path 
of one of the parents. This disconcerted the bird for a time and resulted 
in a lot of scolding. It eventually solved the problem, not by changing 
its route, but by varying the steps. From the nest it flew directly to the 
opening of the blind, lit on the cloth in the opening, hopped from that 
to the observer's knee, then onto his shoulder, and out through the 
entrance opening on the opposite side of the tent. After this routine was 
established, the bird became reconciled to the tent and made the trips 
through it in the fashion indicated many times that day. 


FROM THE early dawn of history, the migratory movements of birds have 
excited curiosity and speculation among the peoples of the world. This 
interest has resulted in the development of curious legends and beliefs, 
some of which still persist strongly in many countries. For example, at 
one time it was widely accepted that when all the clan of swallows and 
swifts that gathered in the large autumnal companies that are such 
familiar late-summer sights over the marshlands were assembled, all the 
birds took wing at once, dived into the water, swam to the bottom and 
buried themselves in the mud, to emerge the following spring after the 
cold weather had passed. In other lands, barnacles were supposed to 
change into geese, and fruits or seeds of certain trees that grew along the 
seashore and dropped into the water were supposed, by some mysterious 
alchemy of the deep, to be transformed into waterfowl of various types. 


IN MODERN times, with modern facilities of travel and methods of com- 
munication, bird migrations are much better understood, and we now 
know in a great measure the summer and winter homes of our common 
birds and the routes traveled. The first systematic study of migrations 
of North American birds on a large scale was undertaken by the Biological 
Survey and was carried on for many years by Professor Wells W. Cooke. 
By using hundreds of volunteers, acquainted at least with the common 
birds scattered over the United States, and getting these observers to 
record the first spring and fall appearances of the birds and other data, 
he soon began to accumulate an immense volume of information. True, 
there were probably many individual errors of observation and identifi- 


cation, but by taking averages and placing them on maps, Professor 
Cooke was able to forecast with remarkable accuracy the date of probable 
first arrival of the birds in a given locality and to plot their migration 
routes. This work is still going on, and the records from individual 
observers in the same locality, sometimes running back for many years, 
furnish a remarkable picture of the ebb and flow of the migratory move- 
ments at that particular point. 


MORE RECENTLY, the work of banding birds, started many years ago by 
individuals, has been systematized and greatly extended by the Biological 
Survey, until now the country is covered with a network of stations. The 
Survey acts as a clearing house for information, furnishes bands to co- 
operators, and develops traps of various kinds. Many individuals have 
also developed traps for special uses. The work is carried out entirely on 
a cooperative basis, volunteer workers doing the banding solely to assist 
in getting vital information. Banding stations are maintained on many of 
the migratory waterfowl refuges. To date (1940), more than three million 
birds have been banded, and the returns have been great enough to allow 
the plotting of migration routes with remarkable accuracy. 

As a result of this work, two facts stand forth increasingly clear. First, 
the normal behavior of migratory birds traveling hundreds or thousands 
of miles is exceedingly stereotyped. Banded birds are retrapped in the 
same breeding location year after year, and wintering birds return for 
many seasons to the same locality and even to the same field to spend that 
season. For example, White-throated Sparrows and juncos, two birds 
that winter commonly and widely over the eastern United States, are 
caught season after season in the same stationary trap. The bands furnish 
an invaluable means of identification and have revealed some remarkable 
histories of movements and behavior of individual birds. For example, 
one much-publicized Common Mallard hen has returned for eight con- 
secutive seasons to build her nest on the same shed roof in northern 

The second fact brought out by birdbanding is that, although the 
normal behavior of birds, as stated, is apparently to follow the same line 
of travel and to spend the summer and winter in the same localities each 
year, there are many interesting cases of birds that have wandered far 
afield. Two Black-headed Gulls, banded on July 18, 1911, at Rossitten, 
Germany, were recaptured, one at Bridgetown, in the Barbadoes, in 
November 1911, and the second at Vera Cruz, Mexico, in February 1912.. 
Two kittiwakes were banded at the Fame Islands, England, on June 2.8, 
192.3, and June 30, 192.4. The first was killed in Newfoundland on August 
12., 1914, and the second in Labrador on October 2.8, 19x5. An American 



Common Tern, banded on the coast of Maine on July 3, 1913, was found 
dead four years later, in August 1917, at the mouth of the Niger River 
in British West Africa. 

A number of banding stations have been operating in Oregon more or 
less sporadically. Until 1935, the station at the great Malheur Migratory 
Bird Refuge, in charge of George M. Benson, had banded the greatest 
number of birds and had had the greatest number of recoveries reported. 
Table i shows the number of waterfowl banded at this and other Oregon 
stations and the number and percentage of banded birds recovered to 
July i, 1935. Table 2. shows these returns by localities. 




at other 








Per cent 



Per cent 


















10. 6 


J 74 









Green- winged Teal . . . 


1 80 












Cinnamon Teal 



5- 1 





4 1 








1 60 

n. 6 




7- 1 






Wood Duck 



1 1, Il8 


11. i 




One of the interesting things shown in Table i is that a return of approxi- 
mately 10 per cent of the, ducks banded may be expected. Other species 
than game birds show far lower returns, although the percentage tends 
to mount on all birds as the years pass and more of the birds banded in 
earlier years are recovered. 

Table 2. and the accompanying map (Figure i) indicate how widely the 
ducks bred or captured in migration at Malheur spread over the country. 
It will be noted that the great majority of returns of Malheur-banded 
birds are from California, Oregon, and Idaho. This is entirely to be 
expected and confirms popular belief that the great Malheur marshes 
furnish a large percentage of their birds to California sportsmen. 

The banding records show migration routes clearly. Malheur-raised 
birds are shot regularly in western Oregon but not in great numbers. On 
the other hand, great numbers of mallards banded at the National Bison 


[M=Lake Malheur; O= Other points] 







































Northwest Territory. . 








Yukon Territory 



British Columbia. . . . 





























J 4 

















J 9 






5 ix 




J 53 







Baia California. 














































British Honduras .... 


North Dakota 





South Dakota 
























88 9 








1 80 





1 60 

Range at Moiese in northwestern Montana are recovered in Idaho, Wash- 
ington, and Oregon. These birds gather in Montana on their southward 
movement from the Alberta and Saskatchewan country, travel from there 
to the headwaters of either the Columbia or Snake Rivers and down these 
rivers to western Oregon, and then turn south. Returns from this band- 
ing station illustrate vividly the fact that Oregon sportsmen are vitally 
interested in the welfare of the birds in the Canadian plains section. 

1 As indicated in Table i there are a few other species of ducks of which small numbers have 
been banded in Oregon, but the returns are too few to be of importance and so are omitted 
in this table. 


Another interesting map (Figure 2.) shows the returns of Cackling 
Geese banded near the mouth of the Yukon River, Alaska, chiefly in the 
vicinity of Hooper Bay. These birds have a very restricted breeding area 
and migration route. Captured birds bearing these bands have come from 
the coasts of Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington. The birds 
follow the coast to the mouth of the Columbia River or to Tillamook 
Bay and there turn inland, heading directly for Tule Lake on the Oregon- 
California border east of the Cascades. They remain at this favored spot 
until freezing weather forces them south into the Sacramento Valley, 
where they spend the rest of the winter. In spring the route is reversed. 

There have been many explanations advanced to account for the fixed 
migratory habits of so many species of birds. Those interested will find 
the various theories outlined and discussed in ornithological literature. 

FIGURE i.- Distribution of returns from ducks banded in Oregon. 


We can do no more than mention them here. Among those most prom- 
inently advanced have been the following: (i) seasonal shift of food 
supply; (2.) response to changes in temperature birds are supposed to 
have originated in the north and to have traveled south during the ice 
ages; (3) population pressure birds are assumed to have arisen in the 
south and moved northward because of population pressure; (4) photo- 
tropism birds are assumed to have moved to the regions of greatest light; 
and (5) physiological changes in the sex organs such changes are assumed 
to be correlated with these great mass movements. No one of these 
theories has been entirely accepted, and it does not seem necessary to 
assume that any one of them may entirely account for migration habits. 


THE LOSS of life among migratory hosts is sometimes enormous, and 
ornithological literature contains many stories of bird tragedies. Small 
birds are often blown to sea. Some of them come aboard steamships in 

FIGURE i. Returns of Cackling Geese banded near the mouth of the Yukon River, Alaska, 
chiefly in the vicinity of Hooper Bay. 


an exhausted condition, but those not fortunate enough to find a ship 
inevitably perish, although we get only an occasional hint of such 

In Oregon, some of the losses that have come under our observation are 
as follows: In December 1912. and early January 1913, Jewett and Murie 
found many dead birds at Netarts Bay, among them many common and 
semirare species of seafowl. In November 19x1 , following one of the most 
severe storms in a decade, Gabrielson found thousands of live but exceed- 
ingly emaciated Red Phalaropes and many dead ones on the beach along 
the coast of Tillamook County. With them were hundreds of Pacific 
Fulmars and a miscellaneous collection of other birds. In the winter of 
1931-33, in a period from Christmas to early March, tens of thousands 
of birds were washed dead and dying onto the Oregon beaches. Horned 
Puffins, for which previously there had been only two records in the 
State, were found by the hundreds. Ancient Murrelets were abundant, 
although we had previously considered them a rather infrequent bird 
along our coast. With them were many Tufted Puffins, hundreds of 
California Murres, gulls of several species, including the rather rare 
Pacific Kittiwakes, the various species of loons and grebes wintering on 
the coast, and a few Paroquet Auklets. 

Late in October 1934 there occurred the greatest disaster to migratory 
birds that either of us has ever seen. The great southward movement of 
Red Phalaropes was caught off the Oregon coast by the worst storm in 
many years. Before the three-day blow was over, phalaropes had been 
blown inland for a hundred miles, carcasses lay in windrows on the 
beaches, and dead and dying birds were found along the highways and 
in every pool of water along the coast. Total casualties must have run 
into tens of thousands in Oregon alone, and reports indicated that the 
destruction extended along the entire Washington coast, as well as far 
south into California. In January 193 5 , there was evidently a considerable 
casualty list among the Pacific Kittiwakes and Slender-billed Shearwaters, 
as many dead birds were found between Astoria and Newport. 

Mortality among birds during migration may be due to various agen- 
cies. Some birds die as a result of being oil-soaked from wastes dumped 
by offshore ships. Other deaths, as in the Red Phalarope disaster of 
1934, are clearly the effect of violent storms. We are not able, however, 
to correlate the tremendous destruction of birds that took place in 1932. 
and 1933 with any particular cause. It is quite evident that there was 
an above-normal southward movement of birds that normally winter on 
the Alaska and British Columbia coasts. Horned Puffins, Paroquet Auk- 
lets, Ancient Murrelets, and Pacific Kittiwakes were present far more 
abundantly than in any previous year of which we have any record. At 
the same time, Tufted Puffins wintered in Oregon more commonly than 


usual. The winter was not exceptionally stormy. Perhaps there were 
some unfavorable food conditions on the Alaska coast that drove the 
birds away and especially favorable conditions on the Oregon coast that 
not only held an abnormal number of the Tufted Puffins and similar birds 
there but also attracted a greater number of birds of the more northern 
species. The fact that more records of kills appear in the past three or 
four winters is not to be taken to indicate a higher mortality than in 
previous years but rather reflects the fact that we have been in position 
to make more extensive observations on the coasts. 


THE SPEED of flight of birds in their great migratory movements has long 
been a cause of speculation. Gatke, a German observer on the Island of 
Helgoland, became obsessed with the idea, induced perhaps by his isolated 
home, that most birds pass the greatest part of their migratory flight in 
a single night. On this basis, he estimated that small birds flew 180 to 
2.40 miles an hour and various shore birds, 2.12. to 2.40. The development 
of the automobile and the airplane have given us improved methods of 
measuring the speed of birds. It is apparent from figures thus obtained 
that the speed of birds in flight has been generally overestimated, although 
some birds are capable of high speed for at least short distances. 

Wetmore has published records made by timing birds as they flew 
parallel to automobile roads. He found that such diverse species as 
herons, hawks, Horned Larks, ravens, and shrikes covered 2.2. to x8 miles 
an hour in ordinary flight. H. B. Wood found that the rate of speed of 
the Arkansas Kingbird and the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher varied between 
10 and 17 miles an hour. All these birds are capable of greater speed in 
emergencies. Records in England and Europe, obtained in the same 
manner, show the speed of small birds to be 2.0 to 2.5 miles an hour. 
Colonel R. Meinertzhagen, from figures obtained from observations with 
theodolites (instruments also used to estimate the speed of airplanes), 
stop watches on measured courses, and readings from airplanes, gave the 
following numbers of miles an hour for common groups of birds: crow 
family, 31 to 45; small birds, 2.0 to 37; starlings, 38 to 49; geese, 42. to 55; 
ducks, 44 to 59; falcons, 40 to 48; and sand grouse, 43 to 47. Swifts in 
Mesopotamia are reported to have circled a plane when it was traveling 
at 68 miles an hour; and E. C. Stuart Baker timed swifts with stop watches 
over a course known to be 2. miles long and found that they covered this 
distance in 36 to 42. seconds, or at the rate of 171 to 2.00 miles an hour. 
This is by far the highest estimated speed that we have found in modern 
literature. Various American species of ducks, timed by airplane and by 
automobile, have been found traveling at 42. to 72. miles an hour. 



No COUNTRY in the world has a better understanding of the food habits 
of birds and their interrelationships to agriculture than the United States. 
This is due to the economic studies that have been carried on by the 
Biological Survey for more than 50 years and to the subsequent publica- 
tion of the information acquired. The major groups of birds have been 
covered in these publications, and the bird-protection laws have been 
largely based on the data obtained from this source. Most biologists 
agree that in general birds have a tendency to be economically beneficial 
rather than harmful. There are times and places, however, where some 
species become destructive to special agricultural interests, and there are 
a few birds, including crows and magpies, that often are considered 
injurious over wide areas. 

There is a great deal of honest difference of opinion between groups as 
to the exact value of birds as weed-seed and insect destroyers. The earlier 
students of bird interrelationships considered birds valuable as weed-seed 
destroyers, a view that has been largely abandoned in more recent years. 
It is now recognized that birds feeding on weed seed do not usually 
destroy enough of the total production on a given area to make any 
appreciable difference in the next year's crop of weeds. It is also recog- 
nized that birds act as spreaders of weeds of many kinds. Economic 
entomologists generally feel that the value of birds as insect checks has 
been greatly exaggerated, and there is little doubt that statements some- 
times made by enthusiastic bird lovers to the effect that the country would 
become a vegetationless desert were it not for the insect-eating birds are 
far beyond the truth. Such birds destroy, of course, not only insects that 
are pests, but also valuable predatory and parasitic species that do have 
a recognizable repressive effect upon destructive insects. 

Our own opinion is that the great congregations of birds sometimes 
appearing at scenes of insect outbreaks are not always of real use in con- 
trolling insects. In such cases the birds and other predators feed upon 
enormous insect surpluses built up by particularly favorable conditions, 
and though such activity may tend to shorten the duration or restrict the 
area of local outbreaks, it may have little or no measurable effect upon 
the permanent insect population of the area. The greatest value of birds 
as insect destroyers lies in the steady toll they exact when insects are 
present in normal or less than normal numbers. Such repressive effects 
may go far toward preventing the building up of great surpluses but are 
exceedingly difficult to measure in mathematical terms. Ornithologists 
generally are agreed, however, that there is a large, if uncertain, value 
in such activities. 

A consideration of the activities of birds will reveal that every ecolog- 
ical condition finds species that are especially adapted to feeding under 


that condition. Birds police the air by day and night and search the 
treetops, the surface of the ground, and even the water. Swallows and 
swifts, for example, feed entirely on the wing and are equipped with small 
beaks and wide gapes that allow them literally to scoop their food from 
the air as they dart back and forth through swarms of small insects. 
Flycatchers dart into the air from sentinel positions, pick large and small 
insects from the air, and return to the perch. At times late in summer 
and in fall, they are joined by other widely dissimilar species. During 
those seasons, Lewis's Woodpecker and bluebirds habitually feed in this 
manner, and flickers, blackbirds, several species of sparrows, and some of 
the warblers have been noted occasionally gathering food in this spec- 
tacular way. Their place is taken at night by nighthawks and poor-wills. 
Nighthawks feed high in the air and are literally open-ended projectiles 
that dart back and forth through the air on long, powerful wings, scoop- 
ing up small insects by the hundreds. Poor-wills feed closer to the ground, 
behaving much more like the flycatchers. 

Coursing through the treetops are myriads of small birds, headed by 
the warblers and vireos, that spend their waking hours gathering small 
insects from the foliage, flowers, and buds of the trees. Chickadees, 
kinglets, and other small treetop inhabitants join them regularly. The 
branches and trunks of the trees are policed by woodpeckers, creepers, 
nuthatches, kinglets, and chickadees. Throughout the year these small 
birds search the tree crevices and crannies for insects, eggs, and larvae. 
The woodpeckers are especially equipped with drilling tools that allow 
them to search out and obtain wood-boring insect larvae from their homes 
within the tree, but the other birds of these small groups work more on 
the surface of the bark. Winter and summer alike, they are at it, and 
because of their numbers and the fact that they are present throughout 
the year, it seems probable that the entire surface of many of the trees is 
searched again and again for luckless insects. On the ground, sparrows, 
thrushes, and some of the warblers, together with a sprinkling of birds 
from other families, work through the woodlands and brush patches 
searching among leaves and accumulated debris for insects and seeds, 
while meadowlarks, blackbirds, crows, magpies, robins, and hosts of 
sparrows police the grasslands and open country. Fruit-eating sparrows, 
thrushes, mockers, and thrashers feed alike on the ground or in the 
bushes and treetops wherever their favorite food may be available. 

The abundant food supplies of the shore lines of the larger lakes and 
bays, as well as of the ocean beaches, are harvested periodically by 
migrating shore birds, gulls, and a scattering of other birds. Shore birds 
feed on living insects, crustaceans, and mollusks, while the gulls are 
scavengers but willing to take almost anything living or dead that comes 
their way. The open surfaces of the larger lakes and streams are policed 
by gulls and terns, and the open ocean has myriads of birds of the shear- 


water, petrel, and albatross tribes, as well as gulls and terns, that pick 
their food from its surface. The marshes and shallows grown to masses 
of vegetation furnish food and shelter for rails, herons, ducks, geese, 
cranes, ibises, and many shore birds. Such species as mergansers and the 
diving ducks feed under water in the fresh-water areas, and auks, auklets, 
murres, puffins, guillemots, and cormorants obtain their food from the 
depths of the open ocean and the larger bays. 

Hawks and eagles by day and owls by night act as a check on the 
myriads of rodents in Oregon, and, because of the seriousness of the rodent 
problem in this and other Western States, these birds should be preserved, 
rather than persecuted, as at present. Some species, including the Prairie 
Falcon, the Duck Hawk, and the Goshawk, are universally condemned 
because they feed upon game birds, small songbirds, and poultry. There 
are so few of these raptors left, however, that their effect upon bird 
populations is negligible, and they should not be molested, as they are 
the most magnificent birds of prey in existence. No other birds are so 
swift, so fierce, and so untamable as are the Duck Hawks and the Prairie 
Falcons, and certainly something would be missing from the landscape 
for the nature lover if he knew that never again would he see these 
falcons strike with thunderbolt speed. 

Buzzards are pre-eminently scavengers and are assisted by the gulls 
along the littoral, and by crows, magpies, and ravens everywhere. They 
clean up the carcasses of dead animals, dead and dying fish, and other 
things that would become excessively offensive if allowed to accumulate. 

This brief review of some of the more spectacular and interesting phases 
of bird activity and behavior is not intended to be a complete treatise on 
any one subject, but simply to point out those of major interest. All 
these activities have been written up elsewhere at considerable length, 
and books and pamphlets concerning them are available in most libraries. 


Plate i, A. Coast Range in Coos County, Oregon. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

Plate i, B. Haystack Rock, Pacific City, Oregon, a great bird colony. (Photo bv 
Reed Ferris.) 

topography ana lUiie X^ones of Oregon 


OREGON has a varied topography, rich in plants, animals, and birds. In 
its approximately 96,000 square miles of land and water area it offers 
many fascinating problems to the biologist or geologist, no matter what 
particular group or specialty of behavior or distribution may absorb his 
attention. In order to present something of the picture of the State and 
give a basis for an understanding of the distribution of its bird life it will 
be necessary to discuss, in a general way, geological formation, present 
topography, and plant and animal distribution, as all of these factors 
play an important part in the distribution and abundance of the bird 

The State is roughly a rectangle, approximately 350 miles east and west 
and 300 miles north and south. If the mountain peaks and ranges were 
graded down to fill the canyons and valleys, it would be found that 
generally the eastern edge would be tilted upward with the western rim 
at sea level on the shores of the Pacific. Topographically, Oregon is cut 
into sections by various mountain ranges, chief among which is the 
Cascade. Paralleling the coast, about 100 miles inland, from the Colum- 
bia River to the California line, this great range is the dominant physical 
feature of the State. In fact, it might with propriety be called the back- 
bone of Oregon. It has the highest general elevation of all the mountains 
of the State, and its crest is dominated by a series of huge volcanic cones 
that rise along its summit in solitary cloud-piercing grandeur. This has 
a profound effect on climate and rainfall, a feature that will be discussed 

The Coast Range (Plate i, A), as the name implies, is never far from 
the Pacific Coast and in places even jut into the ocean itself in great head- 
lands that have been beaten away by the ceaseless pounding of the waves 
to form groups of pinnacles and arched rocks. These are now the homes 
of myriads of sea birds that find secure nest sites on inaccessible spots 
(Plate i, 5). The general elevation of the summits is low, the highest 
point, Mt. Bolivar, southeast corner of Coos County, having an altitude 
of 4,2.97 feet. The formation, more ancient than that of the Cascades, is 
weathered down to rounded knobs and ridges that are now all clothed 
with dense vegetation. On the western slope are numerous small rivers 
and streams that empty either into small bays or directly into the Pacific. 
South of the Columbia River the range is cut only by the Umpqua and 


Rogue Rivers in Oregon. Both these streams rise on the western slope of 
the Cascades and flow through the Coast Range in narrow rocky canyons. 

At the northwest corner of the State is the mouth of the Columbia 
River, which is itself a huge bay. South along the coast are Nehalem 
Bay, at the mouth of the Nehalem River; Tillamook Bay, which receives 
the waters of five rivers (Miami, Kilchis, Wilson, Trask, and Tillamook) 
and which has about its shores one of the two large areas of agricultural 
land on the coastal slope; Netarts Bay, just south of Tillamook Bay, 
small but highly important for bird life; Siletz Bay, at the mouth of the 
Siletz River; Yaquina Bay; Alsea Bay; Coos Bay, the largest bay in the 
State, with hundreds of miles of inlets and channels extending in all 
directions from its central body; and the small bay found at the mouth 
of the Rogue River. 

Inland about 100 miles from the mouth of the Columbia, which forms 
the northern boundary of the State except for a small section in the north- 
eastern corner, the Willamette River empties into the mighty river. It 
rises in the central part of the State (north and south), where several 
branches that flow from the Coast and Cascade Ranges unite near Eugene 
to form the river. The valley formed by this stream is the largest area of 
agricultural land in the western part of the State. It is well watered and 
can be successfully farmed without irrigation. As a consequence it was 
the promised land of the early emigrants and is now the most heavily 
populated section of the State. Flowing northward from Eugene, the 
Willamette gathers up the many streams that flow from the western slope 
of the Cascades and the eastern slope of the Coast Range, making a 
regular network of small waterways that profoundly affect the bird 
population of the district. 

Just south of Eugene the Calapooya Mountains, a low cross range 
between the Cascade and Coast Ranges, separate the headwaters of the 
Willamette from the drainage of the Umpqua River. This latter stream 
and its tributaries drain the western slope of the central Cascades from 
south of Diamond Peak to Diamond Lake. Many of the tributaries and 
much of the Umpqua itself are in narrow rocky canyons, but the valleys 
of the main branches widen out in the vicinity of Roseburg to form a 
considerable area of rich bottom land. 

The western slope of the Cascades from Crater Lake National Park 
southward to the California line is drained by the Rogue, which is sepa- 
rated from the Umpqua on the north by the Umpqua Mountains and from 
the Klamath on the south by the Siskiyou Mountains that lie along the 
Oregon-California line between the two major north and south ranges. 
The valley of the Rogue also widens for a considerable distance to form 
an extensive area of flat land and rolling foothills, which, because of its 
similarity to California topography, furnishes many puzzling problems of 
distribution between northern and southern geographical forms. 


East of the Cascades the general topography is that of a great inland 
plateau, rapidly rising from its lower edge along the Columbia to attain 
elevations of x,ooo to 9,000 feet. 

In the extreme northeastern corner of Oregon is found some of the most 
spectacular scenery in the State. There a spur of the Rockies crosses into 
Oregon in a generally northeast to southwest direction, and through it, 
the Snake River, which forms the eastern boundary, has carved a gigantic 
canyon that in depth is equal to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado and 
is bordered by perpetually snow-capped mountains in both Oregon and 
Idaho. Those on the Oregon side, known as the Wallowas, are a miniature 
Glacier Park and contain almost innumerable icy lakes, often perched 
high on the precipitous slopes in little glacial cirques. To the south and 
west this spur, known generally as the Blue Mountains, extends to the 
vicinity of Prineville, where it is lost in the sage plains with a gap of 
only a few miles between it and the Cascades to the west. (See Plates 

2. tO 4.) 

The two major streams in Oregon that flow into the Columbia River 
east of the Cascades are the Deschutes and the John Day. The Deschutes 
rises in the central Cascades, gathers the waters of the lakes about 
Bachelor Butte, Diamond Peak, and the Three Sisters, and, flowing almost 
straight north after it emerges from the mountains, receives additional 
water from the eastern slope of the Cascades, and finally reaches the 
Columbia a few miles east of The Dalles. (See Plate 5.) The John Day 
rises well in the eastern part of the State, draining many of the spurs of 
the Blue Mountains before it enters its rocky gorge and turns north to 
join the Columbia not many miles east of the Deschutes. 

In the south, all of Klamath County and the western edge of Lake 
County are drained by many small streams that finally empty into the 
Klamath Lakes. From Upper Klamath Lake, the Klamath River flows 
south and west to carve a gorge through both the Cascade and Coast 
Ranges before it empties into the Pacific in northern California. The 
Klamath and the mighty Columbia are the only rivers that have suc- 
ceeded in cutting through the Cascade-Sierra Nevada Range, which, 
except for these two gaps, extends unbroken by rivers from the Canadian 
border to Mexico. 

The great shallow alkaline lakes of Harney and Lake Counties rem- 
nants of vastly greater bodies of water of bygone ages are highly im- 
portant physical features from the biologist's point of view. They are 
created by the waters draining from the slopes of the Blue, Warner, and 
Steens Mountains and other smaller ranges. Some of these lakes occa- 
sionally evaporate completely in dry cycles, a condition that has been 
distressingly acute during the past few years, but several times within 
historic ages they have filled again, following increased rainfall, and have 
become a haven for myriads of migratory waterfowl and other birds. 





Plate 4, A. Steamboat Lake, in the Wallowa Mountains, Oregon. (Photo by Ira N. 

Plate 4, B. Winter in the Blue Mountains, Oregon. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 




Other than this basin drainage and the drainage from the Klamath Basin 
southward into the Klamath River, all the innumerable streams rising in 
the Blue Mountains are gathered up by the Columbia-Snake system. 

Geologically, the Siskiyou and Blue Mountains are the most ancient 
areas in the State. Both are composed of sedimentary rocks of many kinds, 
and geologists say that in some prehistoric time they stood as two islands 
in a stormy sea. The Blue Mountains area is particularly rich in fossils, 
the great John Day beds being part of this formation. 

The Coast Range is adjudged to be the next oldest land, probably 
rising at one time to greater heights than at present and more or less 
completely closing off from the open ocean a shallow inland sea. 

The Cascades are the youngest and greatest of the major ranges and are 
largely volcanic in character. The great sage plains that stretch from 
their eastern base to the Blue Mountains and on into southern Idaho and 
northern Nevada were built up by a succession of vast flows of basaltic 
lavas. These lavas surged up against the Blue Mountains, burying the 
foothills under a lava cap that, superimposed on the older rocks, is now 
plainly visible where the rivers have carved their canyons. Much of the 
basic rock of the Cascades, particularly northward, is of this type. Later 
came another volcanic period during which the lighter-colored lavas and 
cinders that form the great series of cones along the backbone of the range 
were thrust upward through this dark-colored lava. Beginning at the 
north, those of major importance are Mount Hood, Olallie Butte, Mount 
Jefferson (Plate 6, A), Three Fingered Jack, Mount Washington, Belknap 
Crater, The Three Sisters (Plate 6, Z3), Broken Top, Bachelor Butte, 
Diamond Peak, Mount Thielsen, old Mount Mazama the great caldera 
that is Crater Lake and Mount McLoughlin (Mount Pitt). In addition, 
there are innumerable cinder cones and lesser craters where dying volcanic 
fires dissipated their last energies. 

Sometime later the basaltic lavas were broken by great earth convul- 
sions into a series of north-and-south faults that extend for miles. Each 
of these has a steep face, which is almost sheer precipice, and a gentler 
slope, up which a car may be driven with ease (Plate 7, A). So far as 
their effect on fauna and flora is concerned, the most important of the 
faults are the Warner Mountains just east of Lakeview, the fault line of 
which is most perfectly preserved as the Abert Lake rim; Hart Mountain 
(Plate 7, B) to the east of Warner Valley in eastern Lake County; and 
the Steens Mountains, which extend from just south of Malheur Lake 
almost to the Nevada line. 


FIELD WORKERS in biology have long known that plants, birds, mammals, 
and other living forms are to be found grouped in more or less character- 
istic fashion into communities and associations. Some of these groups and 


Plate 6, A. Mount Jefferson, Cascade Range, Oregon. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

Plate 6, B. Three Sisters, Cascade Range, Oregon. (Photo by S. G. Jewett.) 


Plate 7, A. Basalt canyons of southeastern Oregon. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

Plate 7, B. Hart Mountain, Lake County, Oregon. (Photo by S. G. Jewett.) 


associations are strikingly obvious, while others are so intricate and 
obscured by other phenomena that recognition is difficult and in some 
instances almost impossible. Differences of opinion and interpretation 
confuse the beginning student. It is not the intention here to go into 
detail concerning these biotic communities, but rather to paint a simple 
word picture that can be understood by those who are just beginning 
their study of Oregon's fascinating out-of-doors. 

Broadly speaking, North America is divided into bands of character- 
istic associations of plants and animals that extend in a generally east- 
and-west direction across the continent. If the continent were perfectly 
flat, these bands would tend to lie in arcs with the ends on the oceans 
and the arc sprung northward toward the center of the land mass. A 
glance at the general life-zone map will show that this idealistic line is 
warped out of place by altitude, presence or absence of considerable bodies 
of water, mountain ranges, rainfall, temperature, and many other factors, 
with the result that, particularly in a mountainous State such as Oregon, 
these zones are broken up into irregular blocks, tongues, and islands that 
lie scattered among the mountains and along the rivers in apparent con- 
fusion. This lack of uniformity, when once understood, is not confusion, 
however, but rather conformity with the series of laws that are the basis 
of the science of ecology. 

Plants are most frequently used as life-zone indicators, as they are avail- 
able the year around and are not quite so flexible in their response to 
environmental change as are birds and mammals. Every species of plant 
and animal has a definite range within which one may confidently expect 
to find it. Some of these species have a range that is almost world-wide. 
A good example is the Short-eared Owl, which is found not only over 
much of North America but also over the northern part of the Old World. 
Such forms, which apparently are little affected by environmental differ- 
ences, are useless for determining life zones. Others are so definitely 
limited by environment that their presence in any numbers is at once 
indicative of certain zones. Yellow pine, which characterizes the Transi- 
tion Zone of eastern Oregon, is an excellent example. 

The zone pattern of vegetation types is controlled by many factors, 
prominent among which are soil depth, fertility, acidity, alkalinity, 
water supply, temperature both summer and winter slope, exposure, 
altitude, and latitude. If there could be found an isolated mountain 
peak, such as Mount Hood, formed as a perfect cone, with slopes at equal 
angles in all directions, with no valleys or ridges, and with exactly similar 
soil, rainfall, and other conditions from sea level to the peak, the life 
zones would be arranged in the form of circular belts around the moun- 
tain. These belts would be tilted downward on the colder northern slope 
and upward on the warmer southern slope, due to the difference in ex- 
posure. This ideal arrangement is never found, however, for zones are 


disturbed by many local factors of configuration alone. The higher or 
colder zones tend to extend downward into the canyons with the flow of 
cold air, while the plants of the warmer zones tend to creep upward along 
the south side of the ridges and thus take advantage of the better air 
drainage and the southern exposure. This fact is regularly used to advan- 
tage by farmers in planting fruits and nuts in Oregon where, everything 
else being equal, air drainage is the factor that furnishes protection 
against innumerable frosts and determines success or failure of an orchard 

This brief discussion of the zone concept as used by modern biologists 
must suffice here, without an attempt to go further into the many often 
obscure environmental factors that affect and disrupt the zones. The 
following life zones are recognized in North America: 

i. Tropical 

2.. Austral, or Sonoran 

Lower Austral, or Lower Sonoran 

Upper Austral, or Upper Sonoran 

3. Transition 

4. Canadian 

5. Hudsonian 

6. Arctic-Alpine 

All of the zones, except the Tropical and Lower Austral, or Lower 
Sonoran, are found in Oregon in varying extent, the Upper Sonoran and 
Transition including most of the land surface of the State. The areas are 
shown in color on the map of the Life Zones of Oregon, prepared by 
Vernon Bailey, formerly of the Bureau of Biological Survey, which is 
placed in an envelope at the end of this publication. 

Since the Tropical Zone does not occur in the State, the Austral, or 
Sonoran, is considered first. So far as north or south zones are concerned 
the terms "Austral" and "Sonoran" are synonymous, representing as they 
do the subtropical fauna and flora of Mexico and the southern United 
States. There are such marked differences east and west, however, that 
Austral is now generally used to designate the eastern, or more humid 
part, of the zone; and Sonoran, the western, or arid section. The word 
"Sonoran" is therefore used to designate the arid part of the subtropical 
belt. This zone has been further divided into a lower, or southern, and 
an upper, or northern, section, and these sections represent almost as 
distinct differences as those found between zones. Only the Upper Sonoran 
part of the zone is represented in Oregon. 

In "The Mammals and Life Zones of Oregon," North American Fauna 
No. 55, of the United States Biological Survey, Vernon Bailey (193 6) 1 has 

1 Dates in parentheses following an author's name refer to Bibliography, p. 609. 


recently published extensive lists of plants and animals characteristic of 
the life zones of the State, so that it seems useless to repeat them here in 
detail. Only a few of the more prominent and characteristic zonal indi- 
cators are listed, therefore, in the following discussion of the different 


OF THE life zones present in Oregon, the Upper Sonoran is the first in the 
order presented above. The valleys of the Columbia and the Snake Rivers 
and the tongues of varying width and length along their tributaries are 
Upper Sonoran; likewise, that part (approximately half) of the great sage 
plateau that lies at an altitude of 4,500 feet or less. On cold northern 
exposures the upper edge of this zone may drop down to 3, 500 feet or less 
and on hot dry southern slopes it may rise to 5,000 feet or more as tongues 
or islands surrounded by the Transition or even the Canadian Zones. 
West of the Cascades the upper valley of the Rogue River, particularly 
the flat lands and foothills about Medford and as far down the river as 
Hells Canyon below Grants Pass, and the valley of the Umpqua in the 
vicinity of Roseburg are both in this zone. The farthest northward exten- 
sions recognizable are along the Willamette River north of Eugene, where 
several patches of almost typical Upper Sonoran vegetation are to be 

Specialists in ecology, as in other lines of scientific research, tend to 
draw finer and finer distinctions and break such concepts as the life zones 
into successively smaller and less recognizable units. Like some of our 
ultramodern subspecies of birds and mammals, they are unrecognizable 
without reference to notes and locality labels. Following this idea, the 
Upper Sonoran, which in itself is the arid subdivision of the Austral Zone, 
is again divided into extreme arid and semiarid zones as they apply to 
our State, and each of these in turn is capable of being still further divided, 
again and again. 

Without considering these further, in the semiarid section of the Upper 
Sonoran that covers the Rogue and Umpqua sections of western Oregon 
are found certain plants that most conspicuously characterize this area. 
Some of these are the California lilacs (Ceanothus cuneatus, C. integerrimus, 
and C. sanguineus), manzanita (^Arctosta-phylos viscida), a tiny mariposa 
(Calochortus uniflorus^) y birchleaf mahogany (Cercocarpus betulaefolms), soap- 
root (Chorogalum Corner tdianum)^ a rabbi tbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus^), a 
false buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum) growing two feet or more tall, alfi- 
leria (Erodtum cicutarium), the striking red bells (Fritillaria recurva), two 
brodiaeas (Brodiaea cafitata and B. hendersoni), bitterbush (Purshia triden- 
tata), white pentstemon (Pentstemon deustus), a wild iris (Iris chrysophylla), 
chokecherry (Prunus demissa), and tasselbush (Garry a fremontt). 

Among the characteristic mammals are the California jack rabbit (Lepus 


californicus calif ornicus), a dark-colored kangaroo rat (Dipodomys heermanni 
gabrielsont) that frequents the chaparral areas, and forms of the wood rat 
(Neofoma), meadow mouse (Microtus), pocket gopher (Thomomys), and 
white-footed mouse (Peromyscus) peculiar to the Upper Sonoran Zone. 
Here, too, that queer character, the ring-tailed cat (Bassariscus astutus), 
that appears to be part skunk and part raccoon, finds its northern limit. 

Among the birds (scientific names are given in the individual accounts 
of each), the California Woodpecker, Oregon Brown Towhee, Sacramento 
Towhee, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Oregon Titmouse, California House 
Finch, Bendire's Screech Owl, and Valley Quail are characteristic. Long- 
tailed Jays and Long-tailed Chats are abundant, but these two and some 
others of their hardier brethren extend into the Transition Zone of the 
Columbia River bottoms at Portland, though in greatly diminished 

East of the Cascades, the Upper Sonoran spreads out as a great irregular 
blotch on the map of north-central Oregon, with islands scattered all over 
the rest of the eastern half of the State. This more arid section does not 
have such a variety of characteristic plants. The most widely distributed 
and easily recognized is the common sagebrush {Artemisia trident ata), 
which is almost the universal ground cover in this gray landscape except 
for the stream bottoms. In good soil, it grows into miniature trees but 
on poor soil and in areas of scantier moisture is smaller and more widely 
spaced. Although this species extends upward into the Transition Zone, 
where it mingles with other hardier sages, it is neither so robust nor so 
abundant on the higher lands and is characteristically Upper Sonoran. 
On the lower, more alkaline areas, particularly the extensive flat playas 
of southeastern Oregon, is the greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus), rabbit- 
brush (Chrysothamnus nauseosus and C. viscidiflorus), wild currant (Kibes 
aureuni), and bitterbush (Purshia tridentata). Barely reaching into the 
State are a few of the saltbushes {Atriplex), which farther south become 
such a conspicuous part of the desert flora. Associated with these are 
other shrubs and a host of annual and perennial plants adapted to the 
difficult conditions of life on these semidesert areas. 

Characteristic mammals of this arid Upper Sonoran are the black-tailed 
jack rabbits (Lepus), the Piute squirrel (Citellus mollis moll is), species of 
kangaroo rats (Perodipus) and pocket mice (Perognathus), a kangaroo 
mouse {Microdipodops megacephalus oregonus), and forms of the pocket 
gopher (Thomomys), wood rat (Neofoma), and white-footed mouse (Pero- 
myscus) peculiar to the area. In extreme southeastern Oregon, the little 
antelope squirrel {Ammospermophilus leucums leucurus) may be found run- 
ning about the thickets of greasewood and rabbitbrush in such places as 
Warner Valley and the flat valley north of McDermitt, Nevada. 

Breeding birds of the great alkaline lake areas that belong in the Upper 
Sonoran Zone include the Cinnamon Teal, White-faced Glossy Ibis, Black- 


necked Stilt, and American Egret. Thriving colonies of these are present 
in the Klamath Lake district, Warner Valley, and Harney Valley. In the 
sagebrush, the Burrowing Owl, Arkansas Kingbird, Gray Flycatcher, 
Merrill's Horned Lark, Sage Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, and Rock Wren 
are common, while along the river bottoms and open valleys Mourning 
Doves, Bullock's Oriole, the Western Lark Sparrow, and the Long-tailed 
Chickadee may be considered characteristic birds. 

Some of these associations grow to be very real as one travels the 
country. For example, it was no greater shock to hear the cheerful little 
trill of Brewer's Sparrow at above 6,000 feet altitude on a hot slope in 
the Wallowa country than to find the two-acre growth of sagebrush that 
the bird frequented. Somehow, where one is found the other is expected 
also, although this tiny island of Upper Sonoran was many miles from 
the nearest extensive area of that zone. 


FROM A utilitarian standpoint, the Transition Zone, which covers broad 
areas of the State, is the most important. Except for irrigated valleys of 
the Upper Sonoran, most of the important agricultural areas and the bulk 
of the commercially important timber stands lie in this zone. Like the 
Sonoran, it is divided into humid and arid sections in Oregon, the former 
lying west of the summit of the Cascades and the latter east of that range. 

The humid Transition Zone occupies all of western Oregon except the 
Sonoran valleys of the Rogue and Umpqua Rivers, a paper-thin area of 
Canadian near the coast, and a few islands of Canadian on the highest 
peaks of the Coast Range. It extends upward onto the flanks of the 
Cascades to an altitude that varies from 3,000 to 5,000 feet, according to 
slope and exposure. It is a region of heavy rainfall the precipitation 
varying from 40 inches in the Willamette Valley to upward of 80 on the 
coast and the slopes of the Cascades. Much of the moisture of the Cas- 
cades comes in the form of heavy snow, which furnishes water through 
the summer to keep the cool trout streams flowing. 

On the western slopes of the Cascades through much of the Willamette 
Valley magnificent virgin forests of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga taxifolia) that 
often extend for miles are characteristic and dominant, while on the 
western slope of the Coast Range equally magnificent stands of Sitka 
spruce (Picea sitchensis) outline the zone. Mingled with these are many 
other coniferous trees, such as western hemlock (Tsuga heterofhylla), sugar 
pine (Pinus lambertiana), white fir {Abies grandis), western arborvitae 
(Thuja plica fa), and Oregon yew (Taxus brevifolia). Along the streams 
deciduous trees, such as Oregon maple {Acer macro fhy Hum), Oregon alder 
{Alnus oregona), Oregon ash {Fraxinus oregona), black cottonwood (Populus 


trichocarpa), vine maple (Acer circinatum), cascara (Rhamnus purshiana), 
western dogwood (Cornus Occident alts), and Oregon crab apple (Malus di- 
versifolia) are to be found in mixed stands. On the slopes, particularly on 
the foothills of the Willamette Valley, such trees as madrone (Arbutus 
men^iesii), Garry oak (Quercus garryana), and Pacific dogwood (Cornus nut- 
tallii) are found intermingled with the second growth of Douglas fir. 
Farther south, on the slopes above the Rogue and Umpqua, a live oak 
(Quercus chrysolepis), incense-cedar (Libocedrus decurrens), and the laurel or 
myrtlewood (Umbellularia californica) make their appearance, and madrone 
becomes much more conspicuous. 

Among the legion of shrubs, which make impenetrable thickets in well- 
watered areas and more or less complete ground cover throughout the 
forests, are several species of California lilac (Ceanotbus), hazel (Corylus 
californica), salal (Gaultheria s ballon), Oregon grape (Berber is aqui folium), 
devilsclub (Echinopanax horridum), evergreen blueberry (Vaccinium ovatum), 
salmonberry (Kubus spectabilis), thimbleberry (Kubus parviflorus), pink 
spirea (Spiraea douglast), and elderberries (Sambucus glauca and S. calli- 
carpa). With these is a wealth of annual and perennial herbaceous plants, 
as one would expect in such a well-watered land. Among the more con- 
spicuous may be mentioned some that are of striking beauty, as the camas 
(Camassia esculenta and C. leichtlinii), the Mount Hood lily (Lilium wash- 
ingtonianum); troutlilies, or lamb's-tongues, in cream, lavender, and 
pink (Erythronium giganteum, E. hendersoni, and E. revolutuni), which are the 
most brilliantly colored of their type in all the world; gorgeous silenes 
(Silene hookeri and S. ingrami); showy bird bills (Dodecatheon latifoliurn); a 
delphinium (Delphinium trolliifolium), which rivals in beauty the best 
creations of the plant breeders; and a gray-leafed, yellow-flowered com- 
posite (Eriophyllum lanatum), which has earned fame throughout the land 
under the poetic name of Oregon sunshine. A hundred others might be 
mentioned, but these are enough to designate this zone, which covers 
most of western Oregon like a blanket. 

Conspicuous breeding birds of the humid section of the Transition Zone 
are the Sooty and Oregon Ruffed Grouse, Northern Spotted Owl, Pygmy 
Owl, Brewster's Screech Owl, Band-tailed Pigeon, Harris's and Gaird- 
ner's Woodpeckers, Northern Pileated Woodpecker, Vaux's Swift, Coast 
Jay, Western Winter Wren, California Creeper, Chestnut-backed and Ore- 
gon Chickadees, Coast Wren-tits, Western Golden-crowned Kinglet, and 
many others. 

Some of the conspicuous mammals of this section are the black-tailed 
deer (Odocoileus columbianus columbianus), Roosevelt's elk (Cervus canadensis 
rooseveltt), brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani ubericolor), Washington rabbit 
(Lepus americanus washingtonii, the humid coast relative of the snowshoe), 
silver gray squirrel (Sciurus griseus griseus^), Douglas's pine squirrel (Sciurus 


douglasii douglasii), mountain beaver (^Aplodontia rufa mfa), and numerous 
species of mice (M.icrotus) and pocket gophers (Thomomys). 

In the arid Transition Zone, great open, parklike forests of yellow pine 
(Pinus ponderosa) cover the eastern slopes of the Cascades, the plateaus and 
lower slopes of the Blue Mountains, and the numerous little ranges that 
are found in the broad triangle that lies with its apex at Bend and its 
southern base along the California boundary from Klamath Falls to east 
of Lakeview. In this section, the Transition Zone varies from 1,000 to 
5,000 or 6,000 feet in altitude, according to local conditions, although it 
descends almost to sea level in the Columbia gorge. So completely is this 
zone outlined by the yellow pine that no other plant need be mentioned 
as characteristic. Associated with it, however, are the western tamarack 
(Larix occidentalis*), numerous species of willow (Salix), such shrubs as 
the low-growing species (JBerberis repens and B. nervosa) that are related to 
the Oregon grape (B. aquifolium), bearberry or kinnikinnick {Arctosta- 
phylos uva-ursf), snowberry {Symphoricarpus albus), bitterbush (Purshia 
tridentatd), and a prostrate Ceanothus (C. prostratus), which grows like a 
holly-leafed carpet beneath the yellow pine and is known as mahala-mat 
or squawcarpet. 

In southeastern Oregon, where the rainfall is too scanty to permit tree 
growth, the Transition Zone on the Steens Mountains and the high rough 
country to the south and east of that range, is not well marked vege- 
tatively. On the eastern slope of Hart Mountain, a small patch of yellow 
pine is found; but to the east this indicator is absent and here it is difficult 
to distinguish this zone from the sage-clad areas of the Upper Sonoran. 
The sage (^Artemisia) is not quite so rank and grows more widely scattered 
than in the bottoms of the Sonoran, while juniper {Juniperus^ and moun- 
tain-mahogany (fercocarpus ledifolius) are found scattered over the slopes. 
In this territory, Transition influence predominates up to 6,000 or 7,000 
feet, but the boundaries are poorly denned, and the zones merge into one 
another almost imperceptibly. Such plants as Balsamorhifa sagittata, 
Wyethia amplexicaulis, Paeonia broivnii, Phlox rigida and P. viscida, Erigeron 
aureus and E. poliospermus, Eriogonum ovalifolium, Gaillardia aristata, several 
species of wild parsnip (Lomattum), Lewisia rediviva, and Pentstemon aridus 
and P. custckii become conspicuous members of the flora at proper seasons. 

Few mammals are confined to the arid sections of the Transition Zone, 
though the rimrock sheep (Qvis canadensis californiana) were formerly 
present in some numbers. At present most of our remaining antelope 
(^Antilocapra americana oregona) range in it; white-tailed jack rabbits (Lepus 
townsendii towns endii), pygmy rabbits (^Brachylagus idahoensis), desert wood- 
chucks (Marmota), chipmunks (Eutamias), and Oregon ground squirrels 
(Citellus oregonus) are found; and numerous species of mice and pocket 
gophers (Thomomys) overflow from other zones into its boundaries. 


Among the characteristic birds one may look for in this section are the 
Sage Grouse, Brewer's Sparrow, Green-tailed Towhee, Sage Thrasher, 
Pygmy Nuthatch, MacFarlane's Screech Owl, and the Northern White- 
headed Woodpecker. 


THE CANADIAN Zone in Oregon is much smaller than the Transition or 
Sonoran. As the yellow pine and Douglas fir forests mark the Transition 
Zone, so the lodgepole pine and spruce forests mark the Canadian. 
Roughly, it is the zone of lodgepole pine (Pinus murrayana), western white 
pine (Pinus monticola), Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannt), fir (^Abies 
amabilis), Alaska cedar (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), and quaking aspen 
(Populus tremuloides). It covers a comparatively narrow belt that includes 
the summit of the Cascades, except for a few of the highest peaks, most of 
the tops of the Blue Mountains, except in the Elkhorns and Wallowas, 
and a few other scattered peaks. Curiously enough, a thin strip of almost 
pure Canadian Zone is found along the coast as far south as Cape Blanco. 
At some places it disappears, at others it opens out to a width of a mile 
or more, though more frequently it is only a few rods wide. 

The strip of Canadian, or almost pure Canadian, flora on the coast is a 
curious phenomenon. It is dominated by the lodgepole pine, about the 
bases of which thickets of Vaccinium ovatum, rhododendron (Rhododendron 
calif ornicuni), and less commonly Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum and 
L. glandulosum). Along exposed points on the coast are to be found such 
characteristic Canadian Zone indicators as the dwarf juniper Qunipems 
communis^) and crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), the latter not being found in 
abundance elsewhere in the State. Associated with these are Oregon Jays 
and Sitka Crossbills, which are to be found more consistently along this 
narrow coast strip than anywhere else in Oregon. In sharp contrast with 
this strong Canadian infusion, on the cliffs directly beneath some of these 
exposed points, southern plants, including Cotyledon farinosa and the 
curious figmarigold (Mesembryanthemum equilateral^^ are to be found cling- 
ing to the face of the rocks barely above tide line. 

Similarly on the eastern side of the Cascades, local conditions may cause 
an almost complete inversion of the zones. The best example of this is in 
the vicinity of Lapine along The Dalles-California highway. Here the 
combination of a poor pumice soil and cold-air drainage has pulled the 
lodgepole pine of the Canadian Zone below its normal level into this 
extensive enclosed basin, where it has prospered, frequently to the exclu- 
sion of other vegetation. It has brought such birds as Clarke's Crow, and 
the Arctic and Alaska Three-toed Woodpeckers with it. All around the 
sides of the basin the slopes are covered with yellow pine, in pure Transi- 
tion type. Even a slight increase in elevation will change the balance, 
and consequently there are small knobs and ridges through the valley 


that scatter islands of yellow pine all through the lodgepole. Such 
anomalies as these confuse the beginner's efforts to understand life zones 
and make for the serious student a fascinating puzzle to fit together. 
Incidentally, studies of these unusual distributions often throw much 
light on the factors affecting distribution of species. 

Red elder (Sambucus callicarpa), mountain-ash (Pyrus sitchensis), service- 
berry {Amelanchier), mountain maple {Acer douglastt), and balsam poplar 
(Populus balsamifera) are commonly found in the zone. Among the char- 
acteristic herbaceous species of plants are beargrass (Xerophyllum fenax), 
Oregon box (Pachistima myrsinites), several low blueberries (Vaccinmm), 
the dainty twinflower (JLinnaea borealis), a low-growing manzanita (Arcto- 
staphylos nevadensis), several species of Arnica, and Clintonia uniflora. 

Mule deer (Odocoileus), snowshoe hares (Lepus) t conies (Ochotona), flying 
squirrels (Glaucomys}, martens (^Martes), shrews (^Sorex), chipmunks (Euta- 
mias), pine squirrels (Sciurus), and many forms of mice are peculiar to 
this zone or have their greatest abundance here. 

Among the most noticeable and characteristic breeding birds are the 
Harlequin Duck, Barrow's Golden-eye, Richardson's and Gray Ruffed 
Grouse, Williamson's, Red-naped, and Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Arctic 
and Alaska Three-toed Woodpeckers, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Rocky 
Mountain and Gray Jays, Cassin's Finch, White-crowned Sparrows, Jun- 
cos, Water Ouzel, Crossbills, and Evening Grosbeaks. 


THE HUDSONIAN is the timber-line zone surrounding the highest peaks in 
the State. In many ways it is poorly defined, and most of the species 
found in it overlap into the zones above and below. In reality it is an 
enchanted land where one may wander through clumps of grotesque 
misshapen trees and meadows bedecked with flowers of all the hues of 
the rainbow. The altitudinal range of the zone itself, which is generally 
1,000 feet, or less, and does not exceed 1,500 feet, may occur anywhere 
between 6,000 and 9,000 feet, depending on slope and exposure. For 
example, on Mount Hood, at the northern end of the Cascades, timber 
line is at approximately 6,000 feet on the northern slope and 7,000 on 
the southern slope, whereas on Mount McLoughlin (Mount Pitt), at the 
southern end of the Range, it is at 7,000 feet or more. In the Wallowas, 
timber line is at approximately 8,000 feet on cold exposures and 9,000 feet 
on warmer exposures, whereas in the Steens Mountains, the correspond- 
ing figures are approximately 500 feet higher. There are no great areas 
of Hudsonian Zone anywhere in the State. The area about the bases of 
the Three Sisters and Broken Top forms the largest continuous mass in 
the Cascades. In the higher parts of the Wallowas there is also con- 


siderable Hudsonian. All other areas of this zone in the State are small 
bands on the slopes of the highest peaks and a few ill-defined areas on 
the summits of the Steens. 

The characteristic trees are the white-barked pine (JPinus albicaulis), 
alpine fir (^Abies lasiocarfa), alpine hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana), and creep- 
ing juniper (^Juniperus communis montana). This is also the land of the 
little mat-forming willows {Salix) and the false heathers (Phyllodoce 
empefriformts, P. glandulosa, and Cassiope mertensiana), which sometimes 
make solid carpets of pink, yellow, or white, acres in extent. 

A list of the herbaceous plants of the Hudsonian Zone form would fill 
a book, for in this zone are all the great alpine floral displays about which 
volumes have been written. Avalanche-lilies (JErytbronium montanum) and 
glacierlilies (. -parviflorum) sometimes grow in such riotous abundance as 
to cover the ground for long distances, while the profusion of such striking 
species as the great hairy western anemone (Pulsatilla occidentalis), prickly 
phlox (Phlox diffusa), mountain mat (Lutkea -pectinata) , and Dasifbora fruti- 
cosa frequently becomes nationally known to alpine-plant enthusiasts. 
Along the streams and in the wet meadows great banners of vivid colors 
indicate the presence of both pink and yellow species of monkeyflowers 
(Mimulus), and about the shores of the little alpine lakes, such rare 
beauties as the loveliest American gentian (Gentiana calycosa), the dwarfed 
little mountain-laurel (Kalmia microphylla), and the striking Dodecatheon 
(Dodecatheon Jeffrey?) are found in abundance. The total list of species 
peculiar to this zone or having their greatest abundance here would run 
into the hundreds, if not thousands, and would be more appropriate in a 
botanical than in a bird book. 

This zone has no value for agriculture and little for commercial lumber- 
ing. It is the summer playground not only for many of the inhabitants of 
the State, but for an increasing number of tourists who come to enjoy the 
pure mountain air, spectacular scenery, and marvelous floral displays. For 
this reason, if for no other, it should be zealously guarded as a priceless 
heritage, the value of which never can be entirely measured in dollars 
and cents. 

In contrast with the floral richness of the zone no mammals and few 
birds are confined to it, although various meadow mice (Mtcrotus), pine 
squirrels (Sciurus\ chipmunks (Eutamias*), and golden-mantled squirrels 
(Callos-permophilus) extend up into and through the Hudsonian. Deer, 
bears, coyotes, and foxes, all wide-ranging species, on occasion are to be 
found in the timber-line parks. 

The timber-line country is the chosen home of Clarke's Crow for most 
of the year, and Gray and Rocky Mountain Jays, Western Golden- 
crowned Kinglets, Townsend's Solitaires, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and 
Alaska Three-toed Woodpeckers are to be found more or less regularly 


throughout the breeding season. Late in summer their numbers are 
augmented by the advent of many other species that wander upward after 
their domestic duties are fulfilled. 


THE ARCTIC-ALPINE Zone is represented in Oregon only as a series of 
islands on the upper slopes of the higher peaks. It is entirely above 
timber line, and the scanty vegetation quickly gives way to permanent 
ice and snow where the altitude is great enough. Mount Hood, Mount 
Jefferson, Three Sisters, and the higher peaks of the Blue Mountains are 
the most important of these highest zone areas, and with the exception 
of the Three Sisters and the Wallowas the areas are not large. There are 
no trees and shrubs, the nearest approach to shrubs being the dwarfed 
forms of the false heathers (Phyllodoce empetriformis , P. glandulosa, and 
Cassiope mertensiana) and a little ground-hugging willow (Saltx nivalis) 
that scarcely reaches two inches in height. The mountain-sorrel (Oxyria 
digyna), Anemone drummondi, Lupinus lyalli, Saxifraga tolmiei and S '. caespi- 
tosa, Pentstemon men^iesii and P. tolmiei. Veronica alpina, Eriogonum umbella- 
tum, and Potentilla flabellifolia are showy species in the Cascades that 
spread out between timber line and the region of ice and snow. Most of 
these and many others likewise grow in the Wallowa Mountains and, 
together with such true Arctic species as Silene acaulis, Eritrichium ar gen- 
tium, dwarf daisies (Erigeron aureus, E. compositus, and E. radicafus), and 
Saxifraga oppositifolia, mark the zone. 

No mammals in Oregon and only three breeding birds are confined to this 
zone. In the Cascades, Hepburn's Rosy Finch breeds in small numbers on 
Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, and Three Sisters, while in the highest 
part of the Wallowa Mountains the Gray-crowned Rosy Finch and the 
American Pipit are regular summer residents and breeding birds. 

iederal pird Refuges in Oregon 

ON AUGUST 18, 1908, by order of President Theodore Roosevelt, Malheur 
Lake was made a Federal bird refuge. It was the third such refuge to be 
established as a direct result of the interest aroused by the studies of 
William Lovell Finley and Herman Theodore Bohlman in the spectacular 
bird-population areas along the Oregon coast and in the great interior 
marshes of the State. Ten days earlier, Klamath Lake Bird Refuge had 
been established by Executive order, and on October 14, 1907, Three Arch 
Rocks Bird Refuge was established. Since then, Cold Springs Bird Refuge 
(1909), McKay Creek Bird Refuge (192.7), Upper Klamath Bird Refuge 
(192.8), and more recently, Goat Island Migratory Bird Refuge have been 
established, and a tract in Blitzen Valley has been acquired to be combined 
with the Lake Malheur Bird Refuge, the combined areas to be known as 
Malheur Migratory Bird Refuge. The locations of these refuges are 
shown on the accompanying map (Figure 3). 


THE MALHEUR MIGRATORY BIRD REFUGE awakens the imagination and 
kindles the vision of a naturalist. Before its possibilities all other Federal 
bird refuges in Oregon pale to insignificance. Located in Harney County, 
it was for many years the greatest waterfowl breeding ground in the West. 
It has been known to ornithologists from Captain Bendire's time and has 
had more written about it than any other spot in the State. As late as 
192.0, the magnitude of its bird populations stunned the observer who 
tried to classify the masses of birds into their component parts. Pelicans, 
cormorants, grebes, herons, ibises, shore birds, cranes, rails, and myriads 
of ducks and geese, gulls, terns, and swans made it their home. It held 
in its teeming fastnesses the farthest-north colonies of egrets, White-faced 
Glossy Ibises, and Black-necked Stilts. Dainty Wilson's Phalaropes trod 
the small animals from the mud in approved whirling dervish style; and 
long-legged Avocets scooped up the alkali flies with their upturned beaks. 
Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds drifted over the marsh, like 
clouds of gnats; while Caspian Terns, Forster's Terns, and California and 
Ring-billed Gulls added their raucous voices to the din that at times 
became deafening. The authors have stood late in August in helpless 
bewilderment watching the clattering, clucking hosts, entirely at sea as 
to how to estimate the numbers of birds and equally at a loss for words 
adequately to paint the picture. 

After 192.0, the effects of drought, additional irrigation, and deliberate 
diversion of water played havoc with this biological wonderland, until 



from 1930 to 1935 it was either entirely dry or contained so little water 
that by midsummer it became only a stinking remnant of its former 
grandeur. In 1935, the Biological Survey, almost miraculously it seemed 
to those who had watched the tragedy, became possessed of enough money 
to purchase the P Ranch, which not only is wonderful bird country itself 
but controls the precious water supply for Malheur. This added 64,717 
acres to the original 95,155 acres. The Survey is now engaged in restoring 
the marshlands insofar as water supply will permit. With any sort of a 
break in the drought, the Malheur Migratory Bird Refuge can again take 
its place as one of the greatest waterfowl breeding areas south of the 
Canadian line. 


THREE ARCH ROCKS BIRD REFUGE has a spectacular colony of seafowl that 
nests on several enormous rocks, remnants of a rocky headland that once 
projected far out into the sea. The area comprises about 17 acres in Tilla- 
mook County. California Murres are the most abundant birds present, 
but Forked-tailed and Beal's Petrels, Farallon, Brandt's, and Baird's Cor- 
morants, Western Gulls, and Tufted Puffins are also well represented. 
During the nesting season, birds constantly circle the rocks like swarms 

OREGON, 1933 

FIGURE 3. Map showing location of Federal bird refuges in Oregon. 


of bees, and it would be a rash person indeed who ventured a guess as to 
their numbers. 

THE CAPE MEARES MIGRATORY BIRD REFUGE, about i mile north of Three 
Arch Rocks, was established in August 1938 to protect migratory birds, 
Band-tailed Pigeons, grouse, shore birds, black-tailed deer, and brown 
bears. It contains 139 acres. 


KLAMATH LAKE BIRD REFUGE is an area of 81,619 acres on Lower Klamath 
Lake in Klamath County, Oregon, and Siskiyou County, California. It 
was frequented by American Coots and by a variety of gulls, ducks, geese, 
grebes, cormorants, pelicans, and shore birds. Because of an ill-advised 
drainage scheme it is now largely a dry alkaline lake bed. 


County, embrace 2., 677 and 1,813 acres espectively. They are fine nesting 
grounds and provide breeding grounds for geese, ducks, and other water- 
fowl in limited numbers, and feeding grounds for swans and herons during 


UPPER KLAMATH BIRD REFUGE extends for only a short distance along the 
western side of Upper Klamath Lake in Klamath County but covers 8,140 
acres. It has a wonderful mixed rookery of Blue Herons, Black-crowned 
Night Herons, American Egrets, and Farallon Cormorants, and, together 
with the adjoining lowlands, supports the largest nesting population of 
Redheads to be found in the State, as well as many Canada Geese, Com- 
mon Mallards, Cinnamon Teals, and many other water birds. 


GOAT ISLAND MIGRATORY BIRD REFUGE is an area of 2.1 acres in Curry 
County established for the protection of California Murres, gulls, puffins, 
geese, and other migratory and resident species. 


THE HART MOUNTAIN ANTELOPE REFUGE, comprising 2.64,935 acres i n 
historic southeastern Lake County, was established in December 1936 
primarily for the protection of prong-horned antelopes, mule deer, and 
native fur and upland game species, but birds and other wildlife also are 


protected, as on all other national wildlife refuges administered by the 
Biological Survey. A recent (1939) publication of the Survey shows that 
the area is a haven for birds of 12.0 species, ranging from forms that inhabit 
the hot semideserts among the sagebrush at the base of Hart Mountain to 
those that live in the cool climate of the mountain top, 3,400 feet above 
Warner Valley. Among the birds on the refuge are Canada Geese, quails, 
hawks, owls, swallows, warblers, kinglets, and sparrows. 

f Oregon Ornithology 


THE HISTORY of Oregon ornithology extends back one hundred and thirty- 
four years to the time when Meriwether Lewis and William Clark win- 
tered at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1805-06. Their journals, a 
tale of hardships caused by a combination of stormy weather and hunger, 
contain only incidental references to birds that can be surely identified as 
Oregon records. A camp near the present site of Fort Vancouver was their 
natural stopping place below the Cascades, as it was for most of the other 
early visitors, and many of their scattered notes apply to Washington. 
Travel in those days was no easy matter, and on reading the record of 
their historic trip across the continent one marvels at the hardiness of the 
men in enduring all sorts of discomforts and hardships. As they came 
down the Columbia they were obliged to buy dogs and half-spoiled cured 
fish from the Indians for food, often living for several days on such scanty 
fare. After being forced to subsist on unappetizing fish for several succes- 
sive meals, in fact, they came to regard dog meat as a delicacy. 

These men, fighting weather, rapids, and hunger, had little time to 
write voluminous notes, and consequently many of their entries concern- 
ing birds are vague both as to locality and species. The first reference 
that seems to have a definite Oregon location was made on Saturday, 
November 2., 1805. It refers to a camp 2.7 miles below the Cascades on 

the "left side of the river opposite the point of a large meadow 

We saw great numbers of water-fowl, such as swan, geese, ducks of various 
kinds, gulls, plover and the white and gray brant, of which last we killed 
eighteen." This "swan" might have been either the Trumpeter or 
Whistling Swan, both of which wintered on the Columbia in the early 
days; the "plover" was undoubtedly the Killdeer; and the "geese" were 
without doubt the Lesser Snow Goose and the Lesser Canada Goose, the 
latter form being the one that still frequents the river in numbers at that 

No other mention of birds in the journals definitely referable to Oregon 
was made until Saturday, November 30, 1805, when, after having been 
soaked for days and having had their camp on the north bank of the 
Columbia flooded several times by huge tides that piled up before south- 
west gales, they crossed and made camp near Astoria. This crossing had 
been delayed by heavy storms and mountainous seas on the bay. The 
journal speaks several times of the dexterity of the Indians in handling 
their dugouts and their fearlessness in crossing the bay at times when the 



explorers themselves were afraid to attempt it. After they had crossed 
to the south bank of the river, hunting parties were immediately sent out 
to get meat, resulting in this entry: 

The hunters had seen three elk, but could not obtain any of them; they however brought in 
three hawks and a few black ducks, of a species common in the United States, living in large 
flocks, and feeding on grass; they are distinguished by a sharp white beak, toes separated, 
and by having no craw. Besides these wild fowl, there are in this neighbourhood a large 
kind of buzzard with white wings, the gray and the bald eagle, the large red-tailed hawk, 
the blue magpye, and great numbers of ravens and crows. We observe, however, few small 
birds, the one which has most attracted our attention being a small brown bird, which seems 
to frequent logs and the roots of trees. 

This furnishes our first record of the American Coot, California Condor, 
Bald Eagle, Western Red-tailed Hawk, Coast Jay, American Raven, crow 
(probably Western, though it might include the Northwestern Crow), 
and the Western Winter Wren. 

From that date the explorers were too busy hunting food, building a 
winter camp for shelter from the interminable rain, and making salt, to 
pay any attention to birds for a while. On Thursday, January 2., 1806, 
this entry was made: 

The birds which most strike our attention are the large as well as the small or whistling 
swan, the sandhill crane, the large and small geese, cormorants, brown and white brant, 
duckauinmallard, the canvass and several other species of ducks. There is also a small crow, 
the blue crested corvus, and the smaller corvus with a white breast, the little brown wren, 
a large brown sparrow, the bald eagle, and the beautiful buzzard of the Columbia. 

Here we have definite records for the Trumpeter and Whistling Swan, 
Common Mallard, Canvas-back, Coast Jay, Oregon Jay, and Western 
Winter Wren. The "cormorants" might have been any one or all of the 
three coast species; the "sandhill crane" was possibly a Blue Heron; the 
"brown and white brant" and "large and small geese" probably in- 
cluded several species, though only the Lesser Snow Goose can be surely 
identified; and the "large brown sparrow" might be either a Rusty Song 
Sparrow or one of the wintering forms of Fox Sparrow, both of which 
are common winter residents of the district. 

On Friday, March 2.8, 1806, the journal contained an account of Elalah, 
or Deer Island, visited on the up-river trip. It mentioned: "... great 
numbers of geese, ducks, large swan, sandhill cranes, a few canvass- 
backed ducks and particularly the duckinmallard, the most abundant of 

On Friday, April 4, 1806, "Wappatoo island," now known as Sauvies 
Island, was visited and the "small speckled woodpecker, with a white 
back" was recorded from that point, which is still a favorite haunt of 
Gairdner's Woodpecker. One who is familiar with the present carp- 
infested waters of this area, barren of aquatic vegetation, will read with 
interest their account of the abundance of wapato (^Sagitfaria) and the 


Indian methods of harvesting this important food and article of trade 
between the Indians of the neighborhood and less fortunately located 
villagers far and wide. 

On Wednesday, April 9, 1806, is entered the last Oregon bird note, 
made from observations on the opposite side of the river from Beacon 
Rock, as follows: "We saw to-day some turkey-buzzards which are the 
first we have observed on this side of the Rocky Mountains." 

DAVID DOUGLAS, 182.5-2.6 

WITH THE foregoing note Lewis and Clark pass out of the Oregon orni- 
thological picture, and a blank remains until the visit of David Douglas 
some twenty years later. This young botanist left England on July 15, 
182.4, on a sailing ship bound around Cape Horn. The vessel arrived off 
the Columbia on February 12., 18x5, but terrific gales and mountainous 
seas forced it to lie off the mouth of the river until April 7 before finally 
crossing the bar and anchoring under the north shore. In his Journal, 
Douglas gives a vivid account of the weather experienced on the voyage 
and states finally: "Here we experienced the furious hurricanes of North- 
West America in the fullest extent a thousand times worse than Cape 
Horn." This should be an interesting statement to Oregonians who have 
often supposed that the South Seas storms are much more violent than 
anything ever experienced in this country. 

Douglas actually landed on April 9, 182.5, collected at the mouth of 
the river until the iyth, and arrived at Fort Vancouver on the 2.0th. 
From this point as headquarters he traveled over much of Oregon and 
Washington. Even a bare outline of his explorations is too long to be 
included here the trips that most interest Oregonians being those of 
June 2.0 to July 19, 182.5, when he visited the country east of the Cascades; 
August 19 to September 5, 18x5, when he traveled up the Willamette 
Valley to the mouth of the Santiam and returned to Vancouver; March 
2.0 to August 30, 182.6, spent in eastern Washington, as far north as Kettle 
Falls, and in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon; and September 2.0 to 
November zo, 1816, when he journeyed up the Willamette and on to the 
Umpqua. He spent both winters at Vancouver and left March 2.0, 182.7, 
traveling up the Columbia and overland to York Factory on Hudson Bay. 

Although Douglas was primarily a botanist and devoted his efforts 
mainly to the science of plant life, he found time to interest himself in 
both birds and mammals. When one considers that all travel was by 
canoe, on horseback, and on foot, it is evident that Douglas covered an 
immense territory and accomplished a seemingly impossible amount of 
work during his visit to our country. The many plants and numerous 
birds and animals that bear the name of this untiring young collector are 


a lasting tribute to the laborious journeys he made in the pursuit of 
knowledge of this new country. 

In his Journal, definite statements regarding birds are infrequent. On 
August 19, 182.5, h e "Killed 2. females and 3 males of a fine species of 
pigeon; feet, legs, and part of the beak yellow, a white ring round the 
neck." This was evidently near the mouth of the Santiam River and is 
our first definite record for the Band-tailed Pigeon. Various other refer- 
ences to eagles, blue jays, horned owls, geese, vultures, and crows occur 
but are always rather vague as to time and place. When it is considered 
that he traveled much of his time on foot with only such supplies and 
equipment as he and his companions could carry, the lack of detail in 
notes on birds very definitely a side line with him is understandable. 

Douglas (182.8) did find time to report on some of the most interesting 
birds. He described the California Condor and its nests and eggs (evidently 
from word of mouth reports rather than personal observation) and stated: 

I have met with them as far to the north as 49 N. Lat. in the summer and autumn months, 
but nowhere so abundantly as in the Columbian valley between the Grand Rapids and the 
sea. . . . Specimens, male and female, of this truly interesting bird, which I shot in lat. 
45.30.15., long. ii2..3.iz., were lately presented by the Council of the Horticultural Society 
to the Zoological Society, in whose Museum they are now carefully deposited. 

In a paper read before the Linnaean Society December 16, 1818, and 
later published in its Transactions (182.9) he discussed the presence and 
enormous abundance of the Sage Hen and Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse 
on the plains of the Columbia and reported the Oregon Ruffed Grouse as 
an inhabitant of the coast of Oregon and Washington. He also described 
from memory and notes the Plumed Quail his specimens having been 
lost while crossing a tributary on the head of the Willamette in Novem- 
ber, 182.6. 

Among the most interesting statements in this account of the grouse 
and quail is one Douglas made about Tetrao [ = Lagopus] lagopus: "On the 
north-west coast it exists as low as 45 7', the position of Mount Hood. 
This is the same bird as the Scotch Ptarmigan." So far as we have been 
able to ascertain, this note is the basis for all subsequent designation of 
the ptarmigan as an Oregon species. No other ornithologist has noted 
it south of the Goat Rocks, some 50 to 70 miles north of the Oregon line 
in the wild jumble of peaks between Rainier, Adams, and St. Helens, 
Washington, and Douglas does not state that he actually observed the 
birds on Mount Hood. Certainly there have been no ptarmigan in Oregon 
for many years, if indeed they were ever present. 


FOLLOWING Douglas's departure nothing more was accomplished in the 
study of the ornithology of the Oregon country until 1834, when John 
Kirk Townsend and Thomas Nuttall started overland with a party from 


St. Louis. Nuttall, primarily a botanist, had induced Townsend to join 
the party. The two men, traveling on foot, left St. Louis ahead of the 
main party on March 2.9, 1834, and spent their time collecting until they 
were overtaken by the rest of the adventurers. Townsend 's Narrative, 
published in 1839, contains a vivid account of the trials and tribulations 
as well as the good fortunes of the journey. It is well written and enter- 
taining now after almost a hundred years have elapsed. The party first 
arrived on what is now Oregon soil late in August (probably August 2.4), 
since on that date Townsend stated: "We passed, this morning, over a 
flat country, very similar to that along the Platte, abounding in worm- 
wood bushes, the pulpy-leaved thorn, and others, and deep with sand, 
and at noon stopped on a small stream called Malheur ' s creek." 

Contrary to a somewhat popular belief, these early explorers did not 
find the enormous abundance of game that is supposed to have existed in 
this country before the white man destroyed it. Townsend's party, as 
well as many others, often went on scant rations for days at a time and 
rejoiced when they could purchase by barter dried salmon and dried 
chokecherries from the squalid Indian villagers. On August 2.8, on Pow- 
der River, the hunters killed an antelope and a deer fawn, the first game 
larger than a rabbit they had seen since leaving extreme eastern Idaho, 
where they killed their last buffalo. 

In crossing the Blue Mountains from the Grande Ronde Valley toward 
Walla Walla the party suffered from both hunger and thirst. Townsend 
stated that at noon (September 2.) he wandered out along the stream and 
made a meal of rosebuds. On his return to camp he 

was surprised to find Mr. N[uttall] and Captain T[hing] picking the last bones of a bird 
which they had cooked. Upon inquiry, I ascertained that the subject was an unfortunate 
owl which I had killed in the morning, and had intended to preserve as a specimen. The 
temptation was too great to be resisted by the hungry Captain and naturalist, and the bird 
of wisdom lost the immortality which he might otherwise have acquired. 

So much for the imaginary plenitude of game in the good old days and 
also for the fate of the bird that furnishes the first Oregon ornithological 
note in this interesting narrative. 

On December 8, 1834, the two naturalists reached Fort George at the 
mouth of the Columbia, and one is interested to read Townsend's com- 

This is the spot where once stood the fort established by the direction of our honored 
countryman John Jacob Astor. One of the chimneys of old Fort Astoria is still standing, 
a melancholy monument of American enterprise and domestic misrule. The spot where once 
this fine parterre overlooked the river, and the bold stoccade enclosed the neat and sub- 
stantial fort, is now overgrown with weeds and bushes, and can scarce be distinguished from 
the primeval forest which surrounds it on every side. 

Evidently there were troubles and disagreements in public policy even in 
those golden days. Following this visit the two men sailed to the Ha- 
waiian Islands and returned to the mouth of the Columbia and the Oregon 


country on April 16, 1835. Townsend remained at Fort Vancouver, 
making excursions from there to the Blue Mountains and up the Willa- 
mette for short distances, until November 30, 1836, when he again crossed 
out over the Columbia bar, bound for his home in Philadelphia. 

Townsend reaped a rich harvest of birds and mammals during his long 
visit to the Oregon territory, but his notes are so vague that many of the 
forms cannot be definitely localized. Much of his time was spent at Fort 
Vancouver, and many of the small western birds were described from 
specimens he collected there. Among them are two that have since been 
definitely ascribed to what is now Oregon. The type locality of the Black- 
throated Gray Warbler is old Fort William, which stood near the present 
site of the city of Portland; and that of Townsend's Solitaire is Astoria, 
which is a case of the first described specimen coming from a point distant 
from the normal range of the species. 

The Reverend Samuel Parker in his Journal of an Exploring Trip Beyond 
the Rocky Mountains, a trip performed in the years 1835, 1836, and 1837 
(revised ed. 1844) gives credit to Townsend for aid in the following inter- 
esting account of "the birds of Oregon:" 

The birds of Oregon are not so numerous as those which inhabit civilized countries, prob- 
ably because they have not access to the grain and fruit of cultivated fields, and the woods 
and groves are more widely dispersed. But they are sufficiently numerous to employ an 
ornithologist profitably, for a great length of time in collecting and preserving specimens. 
This region is particularly interesting from the fact, that . . . , it has hitherto been an unex- 
plored field no competent scientific person having visited this country to classify the differ- 
ent genera and species. Mr. J. K. Townsend, of Philadelphia, an ornithologist, has spent z 
years in examining scientifically this field, and will probably give to the public the result 
of his labors. I am indebted to him for assistance in the following summary. 

The largest part of the feathered race are migratory, and are seen only a part of the year. 
There are many, however that reside here during the whole year. Among these are the 
majestic white-headed eagle, and the golden eagle, and 3 or 4 species of hawks, z species of 
jay, the magpie, Corvus pica, and thousands of ravens and crows; several species of small 
sparrows, and z or 3 species of grouse, the common partridge of the United States, and the 
dusky grouse of the Rocky Mountains; and also an interesting species of the dipper or water 
ousel. . . . The red-winged black-bird and the robin continue throughout the year. The 
notes of the latter are heard even in the chill of winter, though in feeble strains. 

As the autumn advances, the number of swans, geese and ducks multiply. . . . The black 
cormorant is common upon the Columbia river, and there are other species of the same genus, 
seen about the shores of the Cape, which do not ascend the rivers. Among these is the violet 
green cormorant, the most splendid of all the known species of cormorants. The loon, or 
great northern diver, is very plentiful in this river. Gulls, terns, auks, and petrels, in great 
numbers, visit this river to seek shelter from the violent storms which agitate the ocean 
during the winter. 

. . . Among these [that remain through the summer] are hundreds of warblers, wrens, 
titmice and nuthatches. Of the warblers there are n species, 6 of which are new; the other 
5 are common to the States. Several of the species are but transient visitors, but most of them 
remain through the season. Of the wrens there are 6 species; three of the titmice, and z of 
the nuthatches. And in the train follow the thrushes, of which there are 7 species, z of 
which are new; of these Wilson's thrush is pre-eminent in sweetness of song. The fly-catchers 
number 8 species, 3 of which are new; and there are 13 species of finches, 3 of which are new. 


... In no instance do we find more richness and delicacy of plumage, with the most sweet 
melody of voice, than in a new species of large bullfinch, which visits this section of country 
in the spring. If these were domesticated, they would form a most valuable addition to any 
aviary. There are 8 species of woodpeckers, 4 of which are new; and of the swallow tribe 
there are 5 species, one of which is new, and is the most beautiful of the family, character- 
ized by a splendid changeable green plumage on the head and back, while the other parts 
are purple and white. About the middle of March the splendid little Nootka humming bird 
makes his appearance, coming so suddenly, that you wonder from whence he came . . . .; 
the neck of this beautiful bird presents fine variations of color; now it is ruby red, with a 
metallic lustre; turn it, and the tints vary from purple to violet and crimson, according as 
the light falls upon it. 

I pass over the mention of many genera, and still more numerous species of the different 
birds of this region, as it is not my design to attempt a history of them, but only to give a 
succinct sketch, that some idea may be formed of the ornithological treasures of this inter- 
esting country. 

Throughout the early years of Oregon's history, trappers and adven- 
turers constantly passed through the country, but those men had scant 
inclination to put on paper their experiences and observations. The 
journals of General John Charles Fremont concerning his historic 1843 
trip over the Blue Mountains, down the Columbia to The Dalles, up the 
Deschutes, thence into the Klamath Marsh (Summer Lake), and south- 
eastward out of Oregon toward Pyramid Lake, Nevada, furnish prac- 
tically no information about the bird life of the region, although they are 
filled with botanical and geological notes. 


THE PACIFIC RAILROAD survey reports, based on the notes of many survey- 
ing parties in the West, contain the first definite papers of importance in 
Oregon ornithology. A surveying crew under Lieutenant R. S. William- 
son entered Oregon on August u, 1855, near Tule Lake (then known as 
Rhett Lake). This party was accompanied by Dr. John Strong Newberry, 
who published his notes made in California and Oregon on the zoology 
of the route in Volume VI (1857) of the ponderous survey tomes. After 
exploring the Klamath basin, the expedition worked north onto the 
headwaters of the Deschutes looking for a practical pass through the 
Cascades. At this point the party split for a time, Williamson remaining 
in the Cascades while a detachment under Lieutenant Henry L. Abbot 
made a trip to The Dalles and to the head of the Deschutes. After their 
return the party again separated, Williamson and his group crossing the 
Cascades south of Diamond Peak and following down the Willamette 
and thence northward to Vancouver, from which point Williamson sailed 
for San Francisco. Meanwhile, Abbot, accompanied by Newberry, 
worked north along the Deschutes, explored the country about Black 
Butte and Mount Jefferson, worked slowly northward to Tygh Valley, 
and then crossed the Cascades south of Mount Hood. They were one of 
the first groups, if not the very first, to use this particular route. After a 


brief stop at Vancouver they traveled south through the Willamette, 
Umpqua, and Rogue River Valleys, finally crossing out of the State on 
November 6, 1855. 

During this trip Newberry collected voluminous notes, and his material 
is the most definite and important contribution to Oregon ornithology 
up to that date. First records for many of the species within the State 
limits were made, and this material, together with that collected pri- 
vately by Dr. George Suckley at The Dalles in 1854-55 a ^ ter ne na d com- 
pleted his services with a northern survey, furnished most of the basis 
for Oregon records in Spencer Fullerton Baird's report (Baird, Cassin, and 
Lawrence 1858), which was the final ornithological result of all the 
surveys. When one considers the comparative isolation of Diamond Peak 
and Mount Jefferson, even up to the last few years, it is odd to read the 
records of Newberry and realize that at that early date scientific men were 
scouting the fastnesses of the Cascades looking for new information. 


THE CIVIL WAR and its attendant tension apparently interrupted further 
work on birds in Oregon, for it was not until Captain Charles Bendire 
published his work on collections and observations in Harney Valley 
some twenty years later that the next noteworthy contribution was made. 
He spent the period from November 1875 to January 1877 in residence at 
Camp Harney. The results were published in two papers, the first in 
1875 (Brewer 1875) and the second in 1877 (Bendire 1877). In addition 
his notes were amplified in many instances in his two volumes on Life 
Histories of North American Birds , published in 1892. and 1895. As Bendire 
was the first resident ornithologist in eastern Oregon, he is responsible 
for a long list of first records. These cover both breeding and occurrences 
of birds in this rich area and probably make the greatest individual con- 
tribution to the knowledge of the birds of the State. Most of the speci- 
mens he collected are deposited in the United States National Museum 
at Washington. 

Henry Wetherbee Henshaw, who later become Chief of the Biological 
Survey, was ornithologist of the Wheeler Survey of the Territories from 
1871 to 1879, * n tne course of which he collected many birds, 2.38 on a 
trip in 1878 from Carson, Nevada, to The Dalles and Portland, Oregon. 
In his autobiographical notes Henshaw related the following experience 
that befell him while collecting birds at Albany, Oregon, in 1881 (Condor 
2.2.: 55-56, 1910): 

While in Oregon an amusing incident occurred by which I fell into the clutches of the 
law, the first and only time in my long experience as a bird collector. Being detained in 
Albany, Oregon, for a few days because of a flood which interfered with the operation of 
the stages and railroads to the south, I employed an hour's leisure in collecting a few birds 
on the outskirts of the town, by no means so large then as now. Fate played me a sorry 


trick by leading me to collect a number of curious looking Shore Larks directly in front of 
the house of the constable, who proceeded to instill the fear of the law into my heart by a 
fine of ten dollars. As, however, the birds subsequently proved to be the types of a new 
form (^Eremophila [ = 0tocoris] alpcstris strigata), I have always considered that I got the worth 
of my money. 1 

Almost contemporary with Bendire, Dr. Henry McElderry and Lt. 
Willis Wittich, stationed at Fort Klamath during the late seventies, had 
been collecting birds and making the notes that were compiled and pub- 
lished by Dr. Edgar Alexander Mearns in 1879. Following this, James 
Gushing Merrill, who was stationed at the same post from September 
1886 to August 1887, published his own experiences in 1888. These notes 
from Harney and Klamath Counties were for many years the greatest 
contribution to Oregon ornithology and made the birds of these basins 
much better known to the ornithological world than those from other 
sections of the State. 

While these men were making their studies east of the Cascades, O. B. 
Johnson's list of birds observed in Forest Grove, Portland, and East 
Salem appeared in 1880. Many of his specimens are still preserved at the 
University of Washington at Seattle. At about the same time Dr. Clinton 
T. Cooke did considerable bird collecting in the Willamette Valley. He 
wrote little, but his specimens have been available to the present authors 
and have been valuable aids in formulating the statements regarding the 
birds of western Oregon. 

Alfred Webster Anthony collected for many years in the vicinity of 
Beaverton and in 1886 published a list of the birds of Washington County. 
Many of his specimens are now in the Carnegie Museum at Pittsburgh, 
Pennsylvania. He later contributed a special list of birds from Portland 
and vicinity for Mrs. Florence Merriam Bailey's use in her Handbook of 
Birds of the Western United States. Johnson's and Anthony's publications 
were the most important on western Oregon birds until 1902., when 
Arthur Roy Woodcock, then a student at Oregon Agricultural College, 
published the first real list of the birds of the State, which he had com- 
piled from his own notes on the birds in the vicinity of Corvallis, from 
data obtained by correspondence with observers in various parts of the 
State, and from a partial check of the literature. Woodcock's own notes 
are authentic and valuable, and most of his skins are still available for 
study at Corvallis; but he was somewhat unfortunate in the selection of 
his observers and accepted many statements that, to say the least, are 
dubious. Some of these species are here assigned to the hypothetical list, 
and some of the distributional data are questioned in the present discussion 
of other species. 

1 Through some oversight, Henshaw has here considered Albany to be the type locality of 
Otocoris a. strigata, whereas the type specimen as now labeled in the National Museum is an 
adult male from Fort Steilacoom, Washington; in his original description, however, Henshaw 
did mention one of the adult females from Albany, Oregon. 


Since 1891, Dr. Albert Gregory Prill has been publishing notes from 
Linn County and other parts of the State. He has contributed several 
new species to the Oregon list. His collection at Scio and his many nest- 
ing records have been available in compiling the present distributional 
data. Many of his specimens are deposited in the United States National 
Museum at Washington, at the California Academy of Sciences, and at 
the University of Oregon. 


IN 1902., WILLIAM LOVELL FINLEY'S first notes on Oregon birds appeared. 
His photographic studies of the birds on Three Arch Rocks, Lower 
Klamath Lake, and Malheur Lake, published in numerous books and 
magazine articles some of them in collaboration with Herman Theodore 
Bohlman have become classics in American ornithological literature. As 
a direct result of these studies all three areas mentioned have been set 
aside as Federal bird refuges. The work has been continued by both Mr. 
and Mrs. Finley until now their wildlife pictures and stories are familiar 
throughout this country and Canada. 

Alex Walker collected for years in Tillamook County and at various 
places in eastern Oregon for the Oregon Game Commission, during the 
time Finley was State game warden, and for the Cleveland [Ohio] Mu- 
seum of Natural History. He has published a number of short articles, 
and Dr. Harry Church Oberholser has published descriptions of several 
new subspecies of birds that are based largely on his collections. 

Alfred Cooper Shelton, while at the University of Oregon, worked out 
a distributional list of the birds of west-central Oregon, based largely on 
his own field work in Lane County. This was published in 1917 and is 
one of the outstanding works on Oregon birds to date. 

George Willett's notes on his experiences and observations at Malheur 
Lake appeared in 1919. These included important nesting data that have 
filled in many missing details regarding this area. 

Since that time many short notes on Oregon birds have appeared from 
various sources, but no papers of outstanding importance have been 

Since 192.5, John Claude Braly, an active bird collector throughout 
Oregon, has contributed much information on nesting dates. These notes 
are included in the present account for the proper species. They have 
been taken from his field notes and egg catalog, since few of the data 
have been published. 

Edward Samuel Currier, who has been collecting in Oregon since 1903, 
has accumulated much information on Oregon birds, particularly on 
nesting dates, that has been available for the present work. 

Finley, when State game warden, employed Jewett, beginning July i, 
1912., to build up a State collection of birds and mammals. Olaus Johan 


Murie joined Jewett in September and worked with him about a year. 
Until June 1916, Jewett put in parts of each year collecting and was 
assisted by various wardens and temporary employees. A total of about 
2.,ooo bird and 1,000 mammal skins were collected and are still the 
property of the State Game Commission. This work, so well started, 
was abandoned by Finley's successors, but the material has been available 
for the present writers. 

Overton Dowell, Jr., has for many years carried on a limited amount 
of collecting, largely in the vicinity of Mercer Lake in western Lane 
County. The astonishing number of new distributional records that have 
resulted from his persistent efforts are only an indication of what can be 
expected from intensive work in other parts of this practically virgin 

Since 1931, H. M. Dubois and John A. Carter, both of Portland, have 
worked in the vicinity of that city, and Reed Ferris has been active in 
Tillamook County. Their material and that of J. E. Patterson, who has 
collected eggs for several years in Klamath and Jackson Counties, have 
been incorporated in this book. Patterson has kindly loaned his manu- 
script notes to the Biological Survey, and from these the present writers 
have obtained much valuable information. 

Willard Ayres Eliot, an enthusiastic bird observer, incorporated his 
own notes from the vicinity of Portland in his Birds of the Pacific Coast 
(1913). This book, intended primarily for popular use, has furnished 
valuable information and has stimulated an intensified public interest in 
things ornithological, particularly in the vicinity of Portland. 

This completes the record of the more important workers in this field 
of bird study, though a glance at the Bibliography (p. 609) will show 
contributions from many other sources. 


IN ADDITION to the foregoing publications, specimens, and manuscript 
notes on Oregon ornithology, the writers have had access to a vast mass 
of unpublished data in the files of the Biological Survey, including reports 
made and specimens collected in Oregon at various times for nearly 50 
years by the many field workers and cooperators of that organization. 

Dr. Clinton Hart Merriam, first chief of the Bureau, visited parts of 
Oregon in 1888, chiefly to study losses occasioned by rodents, and in 
1896 he led the first exploration undertaken by the Biological Survey in 
Oregon, with Vernon Bailey, E. A. Preble, and Cleveland Allen as 
assistants. The party collected specimens of mammals and birds as a 
basis for life-zone determinations in the Blue, Steens, and Warner Moun- 
tains, and in the Cascades from the Klamath region north to Mount Hood. 
About a month, from August n to September 15, was spent in the vicinity 


of Crater Lake and the region between Crater Lake and Fort Klamath. 
In the Cascade region between Crater Lake and Fort Klamath, collections 
were made at the following localities: Williamson River, near Fort 
Klamath; Anna Creek Canyon; Pole Bridge Creek; Crater Lake; Diamond 
Lake; Western Sink Creek, between Diamond Lake and Klamath Marsh; 
and Prospect in the Rogue River Valley. Both the birds and the mammals 
collected are now in the Biological Survey collection of the United States 
National Museum. 

The Bureau's biological survey of Oregon was furthered by later chiefs, 
particularly Henry Wetherbee Henshaw (who had collected earlier in the 
State) and Dr. Edward William Nelson. As a result, representative col- 
lections of birds and other forms of wildlife from virtually every part of 
the State have been assembled. Throughout these surveys local coopera- 
tion was extended by the University of Oregon at Eugene, the Willamette 
University at Salem, the Oregon State College at Corvallis, Reed College 
at Portland, and the State Fish and Game Department. In addition, the 
work was furthered by close and cordial cooperation of the Forest Service, 
the National Park Service, and the Geological Survey. 

Among other field naturalists of the Survey who have made important 
natural history observations and collections of birds and mammals at 
various times and localities in Oregon are the following: Dr. Theodore 
Sherman Palmer, in 1889; Clark P. Streator, from 1890 to 1896; J. E. 
McLellan, in 1894; Vernon Bailey, in 1895 and in many subsequent years; 
Arthur Holmes Howell, in 1895; Edward Alexander Preble, in 1896 and 
1915; Dr. Albert Kenrick Fisher and J. Alden Loring, in 1897; Ned 
Hollister, in 1904; D. D. Streeter, Jr., in 1909; Luther J. Goldman and 
Harry Telford, in 1914; Professor Morton Eaton Peck, beginning in 1915; 
and Robert H. Becker and Harry H. Sheldon, beginning in 1916. Other 
Survey students of Oregon bird life have been Dr. Walter Kenrick Fisher, 
Edwin Richard Kalmbach, Olaus Johan Murie, Professor Robert T. 
Young, George G. Cantwell, Alex Walker, and the present writers, 
Gabrielson and Jewett. Although in many instances the work of these 
men was largely in the then almost virgin mammalian field, many of them 
paid considerable attention to birds. The notes and specimens collected, 
as well as the other available information previously referred to, have 
been freely used in preparing this report on the birds of the State, with 
a view to making it as nearly complete as is possible at this time. 

Although this is by no means the complete list of Survey workers in 
Oregon, it includes the most important field efforts of the Survey. The 
localities covered by some of the investigations are presented briefly as 

Palmer, in 1889, made collections in western Oregon, including the 
Grants Pass section in the southwest and Astoria and other parts of 
Clatsop County in the northwest. 


Streator also collected in western Oregon at various localities, in 1890, 
1891, and 1893, and in the eastern part of the State in 1896. In each 
instance his work was primarily on mammals, but he also collected some 

McLellan spent the summer and fall of 1894 collecting in the coast 

Bailey began his collections at Burns, Strawberry Mountain, the Warner 
Mountains, and Wallowa Mountains and other parts of eastern Oregon 
in 1895. He was accompanied at times during this and subsequent years 
by Merriam, Howell, Preble, and Jewett. In 1910, he again furnished 
some bird notes while engaged in mammal work in the vicinity of Mal- 
heur Lake. 

In 1896, Preble collected extensively in southeastern Oregon, spending 
some time also in the Wallowas, as did Howell the previous year. He 
made a second trip through the same general territory in 1915, collecting 
at numerous localities in southern Malheur County. 

Fisher collected a number of birds in 1897 in Tillamook, Clatsop, 
Washington, and Douglas Counties, and during the same year Loring 
worked in the vicinity of The Dalles and southward, while Young col- 
lected a number of birds near Wallowa Lake. 

From 1914 to 1917, Cantwell worked at Malheur Lake as reservation 
warden and furnished many valuable notes and specimens. In 1919 he 
collected in Wallowa County, in various localities in Hood River County, 
and in western Oregon at Philomath, in Benton County. 

In 1914, Goldman did rather intensive work in central Oregon in 
Deschutes, northern Lake, and northern Klamath Counties. 

In 1916, Shelton worked the Snake River Canyon in Baker County and 
the Steens Mountains in Harney County; Becker did similar work in 
Malheur County; and Peck in western Oregon, particularly Douglas 
County, after having spent the previous summer season in the Blue 
Mountains in Umatilla, Union, Baker, and Grant Counties. 

Kalmbach spent the late summer and the fall of 19x0 near Ontario, 
working on crow problems, and the three seasons of 192.9-1931 at Klamath 
Falls, working on the duck sickness and contributing incidental notes 
and specimens on these and other groups of birds. 

Jewett was engaged by the Survey from 1916 to 1935 in predatory 
animal control work; Gabrielson, from 1918 to 1935 in rodent control 
and supervisory work, both largely in Oregon. Their duties required 
constant travel that carried them into every section of the State and 
furnished an opportunity for observation of bird life over a long period 
of years. The notes and specimens collected have been made the basis for 
this book, and the appended bibliography carries a list of papers and notes 
published thereon from time to time. 

List of Ipiras Originally IJescrioecl 
JTrom LJWgon 

Falco communis var. Pealei Ridgway 

( = Falco peregrinus pealef) 

Bull. Essex Inst. 5: 2101, December 1873. 

Canace obscura var. fuliginosa Ridgway 

(= Dendragapus fuliginosus fuliginosus) 
Bull. Essex Inst. 5: 199, December 1873. 

Phasianus Columbianus Ord (=Pedioecetes 

phasianellus columbianus^) 

In Guthrie, Geog., id Am. ed., 1815, 317. Based on 
the Prairie Hen, Lewis and Clark, Exped. Rocky 
Mts., II, 180-182.. 

Oreortyx picta palmeri Oberholser 

Auk 40: 34, January 10, 192.3. 

Lophortyx californica orecta Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 2., Sep- 
tember 19, 1932.. 

Zenaidura macroura caurina Ridgway 

U. S. Nat. Mus. Bull. No. 50, Part VII: 348, May 5, 

Otus asio brewsteri Ridgway 

U. S. Nat. Mus. Bull No. 50, Part VI: 700, 1914. 

Phalaenoptilus nuttallii nyctophilus Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): i, 3, Sep- 
tember 19, 1932.. 

Tyrannus tyrannus hespericola Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 3, 4, Sep- 
tember 19, 1932.. 

Empidonax traillii adastus Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 3, Sep- 
tember 19, 1932.. 

Otocoris alpestris lamprocbroma Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 4, 5, Sep- 
tember 19, 1931. 

Otocoris alpestris merrilli D wight . . . 
Auk 7: 153, April 1890. 

.Sitka [Alaska] = Oregon. 

. Cascade Mountains, Chiloweyuck 
Depot, Washington Territory, 
foot of Mount Hood, Oregon = 
Mount Hood. 

.Great plains of the Columbia 
River, Oregon, between mouths 
of Deschutes and Snake Rivers. 

. Yaquina. 

.Mouth of Twenty Mile Creek, 
Warner Valley, 9 miles south of 



Hart Mountain, near site of old 
Fort Warner, northern end of 
Warner Valley, 10 miles north- 
east of Adel. 

.Mouth of Twenty Mile Creek, 
Warner Valley, 9 miles south of 

.Hart Mountain, northern end of 
Warner Valley, 2.0 miles north- 
east of Adel. 

.Spanish Lake, east base of Hart 
Mountain, northern end of 
Warner Valley, 2.0 miles north- 
east of Adel. 

.Fort Klamath. 





Stelgidopteryx ruficollis aphractus Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 5, 6, Sep- 
tember 19, 1932.. 

Petrochelidon albifrons aprophata Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 6, Sep- 
tember 19, 1932.. 

Cyanocitta stelleri syncolla Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 6, 7, Sep- 
tember 19, 1931. 

Cyanocitta stelleri paralia Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 7, Sep- 
tember 19, 1932.. 

Aphelocoma californica immanis Grinnell 

Auk 18: 188, April 1901. 

Corvus americanus besperis Ridgway 

(j=Corvus brachyrhynchos hesperis} 

Manual North Amer. Birds: 362., 1887. 

Baeolophus inornatus sequestratus Grinnell and Swarth . . . 
Calif. Univ. Pubs. Zool. 30: 166, September 16, 192.6. 

Baeolophus inornatus %aleptus Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 7, 8, Sep- 
tember 19, 1932.. 

Chamaea fasciata phaea Osgood 

Biol. Soc. Wash. Proc. 13: 42., May 2.9, 1899. 

Tbryomanes bewickii atrestus Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 8, Sep- 
tember 19, 1931. 

Hylocichla guttata oromela Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 8, 9, Sep- 
tember 19, 1932.. 

Ptilogonys [sic] Townsendi Audubon 

( = Myadestes townsendt) 

Birds Amer. (folio), IV, pi. 419, fig. i, 1838 (Orn. 
Biog., V, 1839, 2- 06 )- 

Vireosylva gilva leucopolia Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 9, Sep- 
tember 19, 1931. 

Sylvia nigrescent ]. K. Townsend 

( = Dendroica nigrescent^) 

Journ. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila., vol. 7, Part II, p. 191 
[November 2.1, 1837]. 


.Twenty Mile Creek, Warner Val- 
ley, 9 miles south of Adel. 

.Mouth of Twenty Mile Creek, 
Warner Valley, 9 miles south of 

.Barley Camp, Warner Mountains, 
14 miles southwest of Adel. 

.Pleasant Valley, 9 miles south- 
east of Tillamook. 

. .Scio. 

.Western United States north to 
Washington Territory, Idaho, 
Montana, etc., south to north- 
ern Mexico = Fort Klamath. 

.Eagle Point, Jackson County. 

. . .Rim of Warner Valley, northwest 
of the Jacobs Ranch, Twenty 
Mile Creek, 9 miles south of 

. . .Newport, Yaquina Bay. 

.Mouth of Twenty Mile Creek, 
Warner Valley, 9 miles south of 

.North base of Crook Peak, War- 
ner Mountains, 15 miles north- 
east of Lakeview. 

.Columbia River = near Astoria. 

Barley Camp, Warner Mountains, 
14 miles southwest of Adel. 

Vicinity of Columbia River = 
near Fort William [Portland]. 



Euphagus cyanocephalus aliastus Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 9, 10, 

Loxia curvirostra bendirei Ridgway 

Biol. Soc. Wash. Proc. z: 101, April z8, 1884. 

Oberholseria chlorura ^apolia Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): 10, n, 
September 19, 1952.. 

Pipilo fuscus bullatus Grinnell and Swarth 

Calif. Univ. Pubs. Zool. zi: 431, April 6, 1916. 

Poocaetes gramineus affinis G. S. Miller 

{=Pooecetes gramineus affinis) Salem. 

Auk 5: 404, October 1888. 

Pooecetes gramineus definitus Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): n, Sep- 
tember 19, 1931. 

Chondestes grammacus actitus Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): iz, Sep- 
tember 19, I93Z. 

Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha Oberholser 

Cleveland Mus. Nat. Hist. Sci. Pubs. 4(1): iz, Sep- 
tember 19, i93z. 

Melospi^a cinerea phaea Fisher 

Condor 4: 36, 37, January-February i9oz. 


.Twenty Mile Creek, Warner Val- 
ley, 9 miles south of Adel. 

.Fort Klamath. 

.Hart Mountain, northern end of 
Warner Valley, zo miles north- 
east of Adel. 

Eagle Point, Jackson County. 

.Twenty Mile Creek, Warner Val- 
ley, 9 miles south of Adel. 

.Mouth of Twenty Mile Creek, 
Warner Valley, 9 miles south of 

Barley Camp, Warner Mountains, 
14 miles southwest of Adel. 

Gardiner, mouth of Umpqua 

/Vnnotatea List 

of the 

pirns or Oregon 

Order Oaviit 


Loons: Family Gaviidae 

Lesser Loon: 

Gavia immer elasson Bishop 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer plumage: Head and neck velvety black, glossed 
with green; throat and sides of neck crossed by series of white streaks; breast white; 
back black, spotted with white. Winter plumage and young: back slaty, without 
white spots; throat white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The young loon when first 
hatched is completely covered with soft, thick, short down; the entire upper parts, 
including the head, neck, chest, and sides, are dark colored, 'fuscous black' on crown 
and back, 'fuscous' on throat and sides; only the central belly portion is white, 
tinged laterally with grayish." (Bent) Si%e: Length 2.8-^6, wing 13.55-13.90, bill 
1.90-3 .19. Nest: Sometimes the hollo wed-out top of an old muskrat house or a mass 
of soggy half-rotten vegetable matter heaped up in shallow water or on the shore. 
Eggs: i to 3, usually 2., dark olive gray, spotted with black and more or less stained 
with brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from northern California, North Dakota, and Wis- 
consin north to British Columbia and probably Manitoba. Winters on Pacific 
Coast. In Oregon: Likely to be seen on any larger lake or stream, although far more 
abundant on salt-water bas and inlets of coast. 

TOWNSEND'S NARRATIVE (I839) 1 first recorded the Lesser Loon for Oregon; 
Newberry (1857) listed it as found on the lakes of the Cascades; Bendire 
(1877) stated it was a probable breeder at Malheur Lake; Mearns (1879) 
and Merrill (1888) both recorded it from Fort Klamath; Johnson (1880) 
gave it as a casual visitor to the Willamette Valley (Multnomah, Marion, 
and Washington Counties); and Woodcock (1902.) listed it from various 
points in the State as a migrant and winter resident. 

Our own notes record the species from Wallowa (October 2.7), Lake 
(November 2.0), Wasco (Columbia River, October 15), Klamath (several 
records between September 2.2. and November 15), Deschutes (North Twin 
Lake, April X9, one in full plumage), and Multnomah (October 17) 
Counties inland, and from Tillamook and Lincoln (every month in the 
year), Coos (May 5 and October 2.9), and Curry (November 18) Counties 
on the coast. A pair remained at Devils Lake, Lincoln County, through- 
out the summers of 1931 to 1934, inclusive, where Gabrielson observed 
them at frequent intervals. It is probable that the species breeds in that 
and other coastal lakes, although as yet no nests have been reported from 

1 Dates in parentheses following an author's name refer to Bibliography, p. 609. 

LOONS: Family Gaviidae [ 65 ] 

the State, and it is as a fall migrant and winter resident of the coast that 
we have the best opportunity to know this fine bird. 

The wild cry of the loon has long furnished a theme for poets and 
writers, and when heard in the misty light of early dawn on some lonely 
little mountain lake, it thrills one as do few other wilderness sounds. The 
pair of Lesser Loons at Devils Lake called most fiercely and continuously 
in the early mornings of foggy or rainy days, at which time the wild 
ringing laugh echoed and reechoed from shore to shore. Despite the fact 
that this lake is a somewhat popular summer resort, these birds were not 
particularly shy and often allowed a boat to come within easy gunshot 
range. Several times, as Gabrielson sat quietly in a boat, both birds 
approached within thirty yards, making a wonderful picture as they 
floated gracefully on the lake's surface with their black and white check- 
ered backs showing conspicuously against the water. At the slightest 
movement of the boat's occupants they disappeared almost instantane- 
ously beneath the water, usually to reappear above the surface at an 
astonishing distance. On several occasions, when they were being 
watched from the shore, one bird, for no apparent reason, took suddenly 
to the air and swung in great circles about the lake before alighting again. 

Rising from the water on a still morning is a laborious task for these 
heavy-bodied birds, and they cause almost as much commotion as would 
coots under similar circumstances. When the wind is blowing briskly 
they can rise from the surface much more easily. Once in the air, their 
flight is strong, rapid, and direct, the short, powerful wings beating the 
air rapidly to thrust the long neck, extended bill, and plump body on an 
arrowlike line of flight. They are much more at home in the water than 
in the air, however, and few birds are able to outswim or outdive them. 
In diving, the wings are usually held close to the body,, while the big 
feet drive the birds through the water at a rate of speed more than suffi- 
cient to overtake the small fish on which they feed. 

Two Oregon stomachs have been examined. One, collected by Jewett 
at Netarts Bay (November 9, 1915), contained one fish, Leptocottus armatus; 
the other, taken by J. W. Fry at Klamath Falls (November 16, 1912.), con- 
tained two Leuciscus and fragments of another fish. Curiously enough, 
both stomachs were examined by Gabrielson while a member of the 
Biological Survey Division of Food Habits Research, long before he 
became a resident of Oregon. These data are insufficient to serve as a 
basis for judging the food habits of the Lesser Loon in relation to food 
and game species of fish. Loons are too uncommon in Oregon, however, 
to be any factor in the abundance or scarcity of game fish, even though 
they subsisted entirely on such forms, and their wild cries, wonderful 
diving performance, and general appeal are more than enough to pay for 
any fish they may consume. 



LOONS : Family Gaviidae [ 67 ] 

Pacific Loon: 

Gavia arctica pacifica (Lawrence) 

DESCRIPTION. "Breeding plumage: Back of head and neck smoky gray or whitish; 
throat black, glossed with greenish or purplish and crossed by transverse bar of 
white streaks; sides of neck with series of longitudinal white streaks; back black, 
with four series of white bars; lower parts white. Winter plumage and young: back 
without white markings; throat white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy 
young is plainly colored; the short, thick down, with which it is covered is 'light 
seal brown' on the back, 'clove brown* on the sides, head, and neck, and 'light drab' 
on the breast and belly." (Bent) Si%e: Length 2.4, wing n, bill -L.-L^. Nest: A heap 
of half-rotten vegetation on the shore, very similar to that of the Lesser Loon. 
Eggs: -L, much like those of other loons, only smaller. "The ground color is 'Prouts' 
brown,' 'Saccardo's umber,' 'cinnamon brown,' 'dark olive buff,' or 'Isabella color,' 
very rarely 'pale olive buff.' The egg is usually sparsely covered with small spots, 
but often there are a few scattering larger spots, of the darkest shades of brown or 
nearly black; some eggs show underlying spots or pale shades of lavender or drab." 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in northern part of North America. Winters mainly 
along Pacific Coast south to Lower California. In Oregon: More or less common 
winter resident along coast. 

THE PACIFIC LOON (Plate 8) should be watched for on the Oregon coast 
by all bird students, as it is almost certainly a regular winter resident 
there. The development of many of the bays and beaches into resorts 
frequented to a considerable extent during the winter months by fisher- 
men, clam diggers, and others has made the birds more scarce or at least 
has driven them to the larger bays and the open ocean where they are 
more difficult to observe. This loon is recorded by Mearns (1879) fro m 
Fort Klamath and included by Woodcock (1901), without annotations, 
in his Oregon list, on the authority of A. W. Anthony. These are the 
only references to it in the literature of Oregon bird life, and we can add 
only our own notes. 

Most of our winter specimens are either the Lesser or Red-throated 
Loons, but we have two male winter birds of this species in the Gabriel- 
son collection, one taken at Netarts (December 2.7, 1931) and the other 
at Barview (January 10, 1934). We have four spring and summer speci- 
mens. Jewett has three from Netarts, an adult female in full breeding 
plumage found dead on the beach (August 14, 1914), an immature male 
(May i, 1915), and an adult male (May 3, 1915); and Gabrielson collected 
an adult male in high plumage at the mouth of Pistol River (August 6, 
1931). The extreme ossification of the skull of Gabrielson's specimen in- 
dicated that it was a very old individual. It showed no signs of having 
bred that summer. There was an old leg-bone break that had entirely 
healed, and the stomach was absolutely empty. When first observed, the 
bird was resting on the water's edge, and a Western Gull stood beside it. 
It allowed a close approach behind a flimsy screen of bushes and remained 
on the bank after the gull took wing. When disturbed it slid into a deep 


pool in the stream, and Gabrielson, standing on a 10- or ix-foot bank, 
could see every movement in the clear water. The wings were held 
closely pressed to the sides, and the two powerful feet struck out straight 
backward, furnishing all the motive power. The bill, head, and neck 
were extended straight ahead as in flight, and the bird moved through 
the water with remarkable swiftness. Gabrielson watched it swim the 
length of the pool possibly a dozen times. Judging by its actions and the 
somewhat emaciated condition of the body, it was assumed that the bird 
was sick or injured. 

No Oregon stomachs containing food are available, but those from 
other localities examined by the Biological Survey contained remains of 
fish, small gasteropods, and caddisfly larvae. 

Red-throated Loon: 

Gavia stellata (Pontoppidan) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer plumage: Head and neck plumbeous gray; throat 
with a wedge-shaped patch of rich chestnut; back sooty; top of head and back of 
neck streaked and back specked with white; under parts white. Winter plumage and 
young: throat and fore neck white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The young loon when 
first hatched is completely covered with short, thick, dark brown down, 'seal 
brown' above, shading gradually to 'drab' below." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 2.4-2.7, 
wing 10-11.50, bill 2.. 2.5." (Bailey) Nest: Usually like those of other loons, 
although sometimes eggs are laid directly on wet muddy ground. Eggs: Usually 2., 
ground color from "sepia" to "deep olive buff," usually irregularly spotted with 
small spots or scattering larger spots. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Alaska and northern Canada. Winters southward, 
chiefly along coast to Florida and California. In Oregon: Winter resident along 
coast, more commonly found on larger bays. Straggles inland occasionally. 

WHILE IN OREGON, the Red-throated Loons stick very close to salt water, 
and as they are wild and suspicious in common with most of our other 
bay-frequenting birds observation is not easy. Considerable field work 
needs to be carried out in the coastal waters to fill in the huge gaps in our 
knowledge of this and other wintering waterfowl. The only inland 
records are Suckley's (1860) report of one at The Dalles, March 2.0, 1855, 
and a male (Gabrielson Coll. No. 2.465) taken by John Carter on the 
Columbia River near Portland, February 7, 1933. Woodcock (1902.) re- 
ported the species as a common coastal winter resident on the authority 
of A. W. Anthony. Overton Dowell, Jr., took a specimen at Mercer Lake, 
March 5, 192.2.. 

Our own records are from Netarts and Tillamook Bays in Tillamook 
County, Coos Bay in Coos County, and Yaquina Bay in Lincoln County. 
Doubtless the species would be found on the mouths of the Columbia, 
Umpqua, Siuslaw, and Rogue Rivers, too, if enough field work were 

LOONS : Family Gaviidae [ 69 ] 

carried on at those points. Most of our specimens are in winter plumage 
with the red throat entirely absent. Jewett has one bird (Coll. No. 2.02.8), 
taken January i, 1913, that is in partial breeding plumage. Our earliest 
fall record is November 4; our latest spring record, April 30. 

A single stomach taken by Alex Walker at Netarts, December ix, 192.1, 
containing two Leptocottus armatus, furnishes the only record we have of 
the food of this loon in Oregon. The bird is too scarce, anyway, to be of 
any particular importance economically, whatever its food habits may be. 



Grebes: Family Colymbidae 

Holboell's Grebe: 

Colymbus grisegena holboelli (Reinhardt) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill nearly as long as head; crests inconspicuous or wanting. 
Breeding plumage: Top of head greenish black; back blackish, with brown on wings; 
sides of head and throat patch white or grayish; neck rufous; lower parts washed 
with white over gray. Winter plumage: neck brownish. Young: neck rufous." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "... black above when first hatched, fading to blackish 
brown or seal brown as the chick increases in size; this color includes the sides and 
crissum, leaving only the belly pure white; the head and neck are broadly and 
clearly striped, longitudinally, with black and white; the chin and throat are often 
spotted with black but are sometimes clear white. There is usually a distinct white 
V on the top of the head, starting on the forehead, above a superciliary black stripe 
which usually includes the eyes, and terminating in broad white stripes in the sides 
of the neck; there is also a medium white stripe or spot on the crown and the back 
is, more or less distinctly, marked with four long stripes of dull white or grayish. 
The lighter stripes, especially on the head and neck are often tinged with buffy pink. ' ' 
(Bent) Si^e: "Length 18-10.50, wing 7.30-8.10, bill 1.65-2.. 40." (Bailey) Nest: 
A floating platform of dead and rotten reeds and drift, usually built in thick vege- 
tation in water up to 3 or 4 feet deep. Eggs: Usually 4 or 5, occasionally 6 or, 
rarely, 8, pale bluish white to "cartridge buff," usually dirty and nest-stained. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from arctic North America south to Minnesota, 
North Dakota, Montana, and Washington. Winters principally on coasts south to 
North Carolina and southern California. In Oregon: Recorded from Lake, Tilla- 
mook, Lincoln, Curry, Douglas, and Multnomah Counties in fall and winter. 

HOLBOELL'S GREBE, which is next in size to the Western Grebe, can be 
classed as a fairly common winter resident in the State. Townsend (1839) 
listed it as found in the territory of Oregon, the only record of it in 
Oregon literature except for our own notes and specimens. The writers 
saw and took a single individual at Summer Lake, October 2.5, 19x6 
(Jewett, orig. No. 5002.), our only definite record for eastern Oregon, 
where it should appear, in migration at least, as a casual visitor to the 
larger lakes and rivers. It is evident that it has never been a very common 
bird there, or some one of the numerous ornithologists who have worked 
eastern Oregon would have mentioned it. 

For western Oregon we have a number of records in Tillamook and 
Lincoln Counties, where it frequents the salt-water bays and rivers during 
the winter months; and Jewett took one August 5, 1931, at Diamond 
Lake, in Douglas County. In addition there are two specimens from 
Multnomah County in the Oregon State Game Commission collection, 

GREBES: Family Colymbidae [ 71 ] 

one from Sauvies Island taken October 5, 1915, and the other from the 
Willamette River near Portland collected November 9, 1913. As it is 
recorded as a winter resident from far south along the California coast, 
it can be looked for in all the small bays on our coast as well as in the 
larger rivers. The earliest date of arrival noted is August 5 (Douglas 
County); the latest date in spring, March 6. 

Like the others of its family, this grebe is very awkward in rising from 
the water but is capable of strong, direct, and sustained flight. In the 
water it is as graceful as the Western Grebe and makes the same effortless 
speed under water. It is master of the art of diving, either by the forward 
plunge or by lowering the body vertically into the water until completely 
submerged. It is able to regulate its floating powers, so that it rides high 
on the water or swims with only the head above water. Altogether, it 
is an interesting citizen that we would be glad to have with us more 

Little is known about the food habits of Holboell's Grebe in Oregon. 
Of two stomachs examined, one, from Multnomah County, contained the 
usual ball of partly digested grebe feathers, water striders, fragments of 
water beetles and of a bee or wasp, and a scarabid beetle; the other, from 
Tillamook County, was empty except for the feathers. 

Horned Grebe: 

Colymbus auritus Linnaeus 

DESCRIPTION. One of the smaller grebes that in the adult has crests or ruffs on the 
cheeks and sides of the head. "Breeding plumage: Sides of head with yellow tufts of 
silky feathers, rest of head and throat black; upper parts dusky; lower neck, chest, 
and sides rufous; breast silvery white. Winter adults andyoung; Crests scant or want- 
ing; throat white; sides with little or no rufous." (Bailey) Downy young: "The 
downy young is almost black above, striped and spotted with grayish white; there 
is a median white stripe on the occiput and a white V on the forehead, extending 
down the sides of the neck in broad irregular stripes; the sides of the head, neck, and 
throat are white tinged with 'salmon buff' and spotted with dusky; the under parts 
are white and the sides dusky." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 11.50-15.15, wing about 
5.75, bill about .85-1.00." (Bailey) Nest: A floating platform of soft vegetation, 
mixed with mud, usually among tules or other swamp vegetation. Eggs: Usually 3 
to 5 , sometimes 9 or 10 in one nest, dull bluish white or pale olive white, more or less 
concealed by nest stains that cannot be entirely removed by washing. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in North America from Arctic south to northern 
United States. Winters in United States, principally along coasts. In Oregon: 
Winters on coast and along larger streams west of Cascades. 

THE HORNED GREBE, a common winter resident of the salt-water bays and 
inlets along the Oregon coast, is the most abundant of all wintering 
grebes in the coastal waters and one of the most regularly found of all 
water birds. It is a less common species on the larger rivers of western 
Oregon also. From September to May it may be found a miniature 


Western Grebe dressed in shining white and black plumage displaying 
its silky white breast as it disports itself after the manner of its larger 
and more imposing relatives. It is capable of strong, direct flight and is 
a finished performer at swimming and diving. 

Although the breeding plumage of the Horned Grebe differs greatly 
from that of the Eared Grebe, its winter plumage is very similar to that 
of the young Eared Grebe. The shapes of the bills are the best distinguish- 
ing characters. The bill of the Horned Grebe is compressed from side to 
side and is distinctly higher than wide at the nostril, whereas the bill of 
the Eared Grebe is the reverse of this, being flattened to such an extent 
that it is wider at the nostril than it is high. 

Jewett (1914!)) published the first Oregon record for the species when 
he listed six specimens taken at Netarts Bay between December 2.6 and 
March 2.1. Willett (1919) listed May and June birds at Malheur Lake, 
the only eastern Oregon record known to us. Perhaps they were strag- 
glers, as so good an observer as Willett could scarcely have confused these 
birds, so remarkably different at that season, with another species. We 
have coastal records from Curry, Coos, Lincoln, Tillamook, and Clatsop 
Counties, and Jewett has a skin (Coll. No. 1689) seized by game warden 
Ed Clark on November 9, 1913, at Portland, Multnomah County. Our 
earliest date of arrival in fall is September 15; our latest spring record, 
May 5. 

Food of the Horned Grebe in Oregon consists of water insects, shrimps, 
small crustaceans, small fish, and remains of land insects that presumably 
have fallen into the water and have been picked from the surface. The 
species also has the usual grebe appetite for its own feathers. The purpose 
or meaning of this feather-eating habit is yet to be satisfactorily ex- 

Eared Grebe: 

Colymbus nigricollis californicus (Heermann) 

DESCRIPTION. "Breeding plumage: A fan-shaped tuft of tawny silky feathers on each 
side of head; rest of head, neck, and chest black; back blackish; sides brown; breast 
silvery white. Winter plumage and young: Upper parts and sides dusky; throat and ear 
patch white or grayish; bill slender, wider than deep at base; crests wanting." 
(Bailey) "Downy young: The downy young is glossy black on the back with a few 
brownish or grayish longitudinal stripes anteriorly; the head is dusky, more or less 
striped or spotted with whitish; the under parts are white, becoming dusky on the 
sides and tinged with pinkish buff on the breast and throat." (Bent) Sift: "Length 
I2.-I4, wing 5.30, bill i." (Bailey) Nest: A floating platform of green vegetation 
and rotting debris, with the eggs sometimes partially covered with water; compared 
to other grebe nests, very flimsy and unsubstantial. Eggs: 3 to 9, usually 4 or 5, the 
larger sets being possibly the work of more than one bird; bluish or greenish white, 
soon becoming permanently nest-stained with browns and buffs, indistinguishable 
from eggs of the other small grebes (Plate 9, A). 

GREBES : Family Colymbidae [ 73 ] 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Western North America east to Mississippi, north to Great 
Slave Lake, south to Central America, breeding throughout most of its range. In 
Oregon: Common breeding bird in tule-grown marshes of Malheur, Crook, Harney, 
Lake, and Klamath Counties, wandering to other lakes and streams after breeding 

THE DAINTY and beautiful little Eared Grebe (Plate 9, 5), able to dive 
like a flash or to sink slowly out of sight as fancy dictates, is very much 
at home in the great tule-grown marshes of eastern Oregon. Newberry 
(1857) reported it as common on the Oregon coast, a statement that is 
somewhat doubtful in the light of present-day knowledge. Bendire (i 877) 
found it breeding on Malheur Lake, that unrivaled bird-producing area 
that always had a colony of these beautiful little water sprites until the 
lake entirely dried up. Finley (1912.) reported 2., 465 nests there on July 4, 
1911, of which 1,000 were destroyed by a terrific wind storm on July 15, 
according to L. A. Lewis, who was reservation warden at that time. 

Since Malheur Lake dried up, this grebe has been reported frequently 
by visitors to the eastern Oregon lake region. Lower Klamath Lake, 
before it was destroyed, and Silver Lake, before it dried up, contained 
great colonies in 1912., 1913, and 1914, reported in manuscript to the 
Biological Survey by L. A. Lewis and J. J. Furber. The Warner Lakes, 
particularly Crump Lake, have had flourishing colonies for many years. 
The authors have records of this species from Deschutes, Malheur, Wal- 
lowa, Lane, Douglas, Lincoln, and Multnomah Counties, and doubtless 
it will be found in late summer on mountain lakes of many other counties. 
Fresh-egg dates vary from May 12. to July 4. 

From their great colonies, the birds move out in August over the sur- 
rounding country, at which time almost any open water is likely to 
accommodate a few of them. Diamond Lake, Douglas County, is a favorite 
rendezvous for them at this season when several dozen, or even hundreds, 
may be seen swimming about erratically, picking insects from the surface 
of the water in immediate competition with the trout. Wind-blown 
insects at times almost cover the waters of this lake and are present in 
abundance, not only for the fish and grebes, but also for the gulls and 
other miscellaneous water birds that gather to take advantage of this 
abundant food supply. Crescent and Odell Lakes to the north along the 
summit of the Cascades are also regularly visited by these little grebes at 
this season, and there is no doubt that many others of these lakes would 
be recognized as the summer homes of the Eared Grebes, if only there 
were enough bird watchers to visit them at the proper season. 

The status of this species as a winter resident is not so clear. Notes 
from J. J. Furber show it present in January 1915, at Klamath Falls, and 
there is a skin in the Biological Survey collection taken November 15, 
1917, at Jordan Valley. On the coast, where it is to be expected during 



Plate 9, A. Nest and eggs of Eared Grebe. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 

Plate 9, B. Eared Grebe. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

GREBES : Family Colymbidae [ 75 ] 

the winter, the abundance of the very similar Horned Grebe has added 
uncertainty to such records as we have. There is a skin in the Finley 
collection, taken in June 1908, at Portland, that is evidently a straggler. 
Woodcock (1902.) recorded it from Dayton as a common resident on the 
statements of Ellis F. Hadley. Gabrielson noted a few on Siltcoos Lake, 
western Lane County, on March 2.0, 192.1, that may have been wintering 
birds. Braly has collected a few skins on the coast, and Gabrielson has 
one or two taken at Devils Lake, Lincoln County, in November and 
December, and there is some basis in these records for the belief that the 
Horned Grebe is the more common form on salt water, and the Eared 
Grebe, when present, on the fresh-water lakes along the coast. Most of 
the small grebes of this type collected by the writers on the coast during 
the winter months have been Horned Grebes. This of course does not 
preclude the possibility of the Eared Grebe being present in greater num- 
bers than we have yet detected, but on the basis of the available evidence 
it is far the more uncommon of the two. Stopping the traffic in the 
plumage of native birds has been a great boon to this bird, whose silky 
white breast was once in great demand for millinery purposes, and it has 
prospered since the plumage laws were passed and enforced. 

Like the Horned Grebe, this species feeds on a variety of small fish, 
shrimps, and insects, many of the latter land forms picked from the surface 
of the lakes and bays. It has no appreciable economic importance. 

Western Grebe: 

Aechmofhoms occidentalis (Lawrence) 

DESCRIPTION.- Largest Oregon grebe. "Head without side crests; bill slender; neck 
nearly as long as body. Adults [sexes alike]: Top of head and line down back of 
neck, blackish; back slaty gray; throat and under parts silvery white." (Bailey) 
Downy young: "Upper parts are light mouse gray' in color, darkest on the back, 
lighter on the crown and shading off to 'pallid mouse gray' on the neck and sides 
and almost to pure white on the belly; there is a triangular naked spot on the crown." 
(Bent) Si%e: "Male, length 14-19, wing 7.45-8.50, bill 1.60-3.05. Female, smaller, 
bill z. lo-i. 48." (Bailey) Nest: Floating platform of dead and rotten reeds, mixed 
with a few green flags and plastered with stringy vegetable matter. Eggs: 3 to 10, 
usually 3 to 5 , dull bluish white or cream color to various shades of dirty buff or olive 
buff, generally more or less nest-stained. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From central Mexico to British Columbia and Alberta and 
along Pacific to Manitoba. In Oregon: Nests in Klamath (Upper Klamath Lake) and 
Lake (Warner Lakes) Counties, often in great colonies. Winters on rivers and bays 
of western Oregon (Multnomah, Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Douglas, Coos, 
Curry, and Benton Counties). Casual in Umatilla County (June n). 

THE WESTERN GREBE (Plate 10, A) is the largest of the grebes in Oregon 


and has been known as one of Oregon's common winter birds since 
Newberry (1857) first recorded it from the mouth of the Columbia, where 
it still winters in fair numbers. Goss (1889) reported two sets of eggs 
taken by Bendire in Klamath County, May 2.8, 1883, and since then 
numerous observers have recorded the species either from the three great 
lake counties or from the coast. During the winter months, from mid- 
September to early May, it is abundant on all the bays of the Oregon coast 
and can frequently be seen displaying its silvery white breast beyond the 
breakers in the open ocean. It is also found in winter, though less com- 
monly, on the larger rivers and streams inland. Its earliest date of arrival 
on the coast is September 14; latest date of departure, May 5. It spends 
the summer months, from early May to late September, in the great tule 
marshes and alkaline lakes of interior Oregon. Our earliest date for its 
arrival on the nesting ground is March 19; latest date of departure, 
November 15. Egg dates extend from May 10 to 2.3. 

Whether riding the Pacific breakers in midwinter or diving about in 
the dense tule marshes of central Oregon during the nesting season, the 
beautiful Western, or "Swan," Grebe is one of the most graceful of all 
water birds. No Oregon bird is more specialized for living in the water. 
It is so thoroughly at home in this, its natural element, that it swims with 
scarcely a ripple, and so effortless is its dive that it appears to slide into 
the water. Its flight is rapid and direct, the rather short wings driving 
the long, slim, almost arrowlike body at surprising speed, once the bird 
is successfully launched in the air. 

For many years plume hunters killed Western Grebes by the thousands 
for their beautiful satiny white breasts, until they were practically ex- 
terminated; but the better protection afforded them in recent years has 
brought them back in greater numbers. The colony on Upper Klamath 
is a thriving one. There, during June, it is possible to find hundreds of 
the floating platforms that serve as nests. Placed usually in the thick tule 
growth, they are kept by the dense vegetation from drifting about. 
Crump Lake, in the Warner chain, also supports a fair population. The 
drying up of Malheur Lake in recent years has scattered its once fine 

Very little is known about the food of this species. It has the curious 
grebe habit of swallowing its own feathers, and nearly every stomach 
examined contained a closely packed wad of feathers. A stomach from 
Silver Lake contained only unidentified fish bones and grebe feathers. 
Two stomachs from Netarts Bay contained small fish, fish eyes, remains 
of a ground beetle, and water-plant seeds. This grebe has no economic 
status, as the fish it eats are largely trash and scrap fish. It more than pays 
for its keep in the pleasure its graceful actions and beautiful plumage 
give to observers. 

GREBES: Family Colymbidae [ 77 ] 

Pied-billed Grebe: 

Podilymbus podiceps podiceps (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill short and stout, head not crested. Breeding plumage: Bill 
whitish, crossed by a black band ; upper parts blackish; chin and throat black; breast 
mottled silvery gray. Winter plumage: Bill bro\vnish, with paler lower mandible; 
chin, throat, and breast whitish." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young is 
prettily and quite strikingly marked with black and white; it is mainly glossy black 
above, with longitudinal stripes of grayish white on the neck and back; the crown 
is black, more or less variegated with 'walnut brown' or 'burnt umber,' sometimes 
in the form of a central patch, and with two broad superciliary stripes of white 
meeting on the forehead and two white stripes above them; the sides of the neck and 
throat are variegated with black and white and the sides of the body are more or less 
washed with dusky; the under parts are grayish white, lightest on the belly." (Bent) 
Si%e: "Length 11-15, w ig 4-5~5- oo > bill about .87." (Bailey) Nest: A floating 
platform of rotting vegetation, anchored to or built around green or dead reeds or 
tules; not in colonies as with other grebes, but few at most, in a place. Eggs 
usually covered by nest material during absence of owners. Eggs: 3 to 10, usually 5 
to 7, very similar to the dull bluish white of other grebes and badly nest-stained 
with browns or buffs. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Over North America, except extreme north, nesting 
throughout most of this territory. In Oregon: Permanent resident throughout State 
wherever suitable pond and water conditions are present. 

THE PIED-BILLED GREBE, or "dabchick," with its drab color and heavy 
bill, is undoubtedly better known to the farmer boys of Oregon than is 
any other water bird, unless it is the Mud Hen, or American Coot. 
Townsend (1839) first reported it from Oregon. His notes were followed 
by those of Suckley (1860), Bendire (1877), and Merrill (1888), among 
the earlier naturalists, of whom Bendire was the first to report it breeding. 
Johnson (1880) recorded it from Multnomah, Washington, and Marion 
Counties; Woodcock (1902.) from Yamhill-, Lincoln, Linn, and Benton 
Counties; Merrill (1888), from Klamath County; Walker (191713), from 
Lake County; and Finley (i9o8b) and Willett (1919), from Malheur 
County. Our own records are from Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Lin- 
coln, Lane, Coos, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Harney, Malheur, 
Deschutes, Umatilla, and Wallowa Counties. It can be looked for in 
small tule-bordered ponds in any part of the State during breeding season 
and on unfrozen and sluggish rivers everywhere during the fall, winter, 
and early spring. 

Unlike the other grebes that breed in Oregon, it prefers to nest alone 
rather than in colonies, and any tule-lined pond, however small, is likely 
to harbor a pair of these small waterfowl. They nest most commonly in 
Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties, where the almost innumerable tiny 
ponds and swamps furnish ideal conditions for them. They have been 
found breeding in western Oregon also, on Sauvies Island in Multnomah 
County, Gales Creek in Washington County, and Devils Lake in Lincoln 
County, where at least two pairs have bred each year since 192.9. They 



Plate 10, A. Western Grebe. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

Plate 10, B. Nest and eggs of Pied-billed Grebe. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

GREBES : Family Colymbidae [ 79 ] 

occur regularly in summer along the Columbia River. Undoubtedly they 
breed in other coastal lakes to the south, though we have no definite 
records of our own. 

The nest (Plate 10, 5) is a pile of decaying vegetation, the heat of which 
undoubtedly assists in incubating the eggs, which the parent birds leave 
covered with damp rotting material during their absence. Gabrielson 
witnessed this performance once. The parent bird stood on the nest 
drawing the wet material over the eggs with the bill. When the eggs 
were thoroughly covered, two or three green reeds were seized in the bill 
and broken with a jerk and twist of the head so that they bent over the 
nest. The adult then slipped into the water and swam quietly away. The 
eggs are laid from late April to early June. Normal dates extend from 
May 9 to June 6, but there is one manuscript record in the Biological 
Survey files of a nest at Malheur containing five newly hatched young on 
April 2.7, 1914 (Fawcett). 

Although clumsier than its near relatives, the Pied-billed Grebe is 
nevertheless an accomplished diver, able to perform all the feats credited 
to others of the family. The newly hatched babies can swim and dive 
almost as soon as they leave the egg, their prettily streaked heads and 
soft, colored down harmonizing astonishingly well with the water vege- 
tation in which they hide when alarmed. After the young are feathered 
out, these grebes congregate in little flocks in the larger ponds and swamps 
and feed on the abundant aquatic life found there during the summer 
months. During the fall and winter they scatter somewhat and at that 
time may be found in any open water. There is a noticeable increase in 
the numbers present on the coast in October, and most of our birds evi- 
dently spend the winter there or south of our borders. 

Like the other grebes, the "dabchick" feeds on fish, frogs, water in- 
sects, and various other insects largely gleaned from the surface of the 
water. Two stomachs, taken at Mulino in October 1913, each contained 
bits of various water insects, fragments offish, and a ball of grebe feathers 
that comprised 50 per cent of the stomach contents in one case and 85 
per cent in the other. 

Order | rocellariif 


Albatrosses: Family Diomedeidae 

Black-footed Albatross: 

Diomedea ni gripes Audubon 

DESCRIPTION.- "Adults: Face and chin whitish, top of head and rest of upper parts 
blackish, except for whitish tail coverts and base of tail; under parts sooty gray; bill 
dusky, feet black. Young: Face with less white, and upper tail coverts dusky. 
Length: 2.8. 50-36.00, wing 18.50-2.0.50, bill 4.00-4.2.5." (Bailey) Nest: On the 
ground. Eggr: i, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on many islands in north Pacific, including some in 
Hawaiian group, and wanders to North American coast from Alaska to Lower 
California. In Oregon: Of casual occurrence on coast, usually well offshore, though 
we have seen it within 10 miles of land. 

BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES are not abundant off the Oregon coast but are 
apparently regular visitors in small numbers during the summer months. 
Woodcock (1902.) recorded Anthony's statement that both this species and 
the next are found off the Oregon coast in winter. Jewett reported seeing 
four, just off the Oregon coast, from his steamer as he came up the coast 
on May 5, 192.7, and Gabrielson, Jewett, and Braly saw two about 9 miles 
off Newport Bar on August 30, 1930. These are our only records for the 
State, and they are all sight records. This big, striking albatross, how- 
ever, with its dark plumage, dark bill, and dark feet, cannot readily be 
confused with any other species likely to be found in this territory. 

It is a wonderful spectacle to watch one of these birds on the wing 
during windy or stormy weather. Its almost miraculous ability to sail 
across, into, or with the wind without moving its great wings perceptibly 
and its uncanny skill in turning even the breakers and swells to its own 
advantage as it skims the surface of the water like a great plane are a 
never-ending source of wonder to the observer. No bird known to us can 
compare in powers of flight with this master of the air, and after watching 
it for a time, we conclude that the flight of even such an aerial expert as 
the Turkey Buzzard seems that of a novice. 

Short-tailed Albatross: 

Diomedea albatrus Pallas 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Mainly white, but head and neck washed with yellowish, 
tail and most of wings dusky, primaries with yellow shafts; bill and feet yellowish. 
Young: Plumage sooty brown, darker on head and neck; primary shafts yellowish. 


SHEARWATERS AND FULMARS: Family Procellariidae [ 8l ] 

Length: 33-37, wing 11-13, bill 5.50-5.60." (Bailey) Eggs: i, white, laid on ground. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in western Pacific on Wake and Bonin Islands. 
Wanders eastward to North American coast from Alaska to southern Lower Cali- 
fornia. In Oregon: Rare visitor to coast; two definite records. 

THE SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSS was reported by Suckley (1860) and Anthony 
(Woodcock 1902.) as having been found on the Oregon coast. We have 
never seen it there, but we have two definite records for the State, both 
supported by identifiable remains of bones. The first were collected by 
Jewett from shell mounds on the Tillamook County coast and identified 
by Dr. Alex. Wetmore (19x8), of the National Museum, who recorded it 
in the Condor as an Oregon species. The other bones were taken by Jewett 
from shell mounds near Yachats in August 1934. 

The adult of this species is the only white-plumaged albatross reported 
from this coast. The dark-colored, immature birds can be distinguished 
from the Black-footed Albatross by their light-colored bills and feet. 
This is one of the species that has suffered so heavily from plumage 
hunters on the islands of the Pacific that it is probably near extermina- 
tion, if not already extinct. 

Shearwaters and Fulmars: Family Procellariidae 

Slender-billed Shearwater: 

Puffinus tenuirostris (Temminck) 

DESCRIPTION. "Size small; bill relatively small and slender; plumage sooty or 
blackish except for paler throat and white under wing coverts; bill and feet dusky. 
Wing:, tail 3.103.60, bill 1.10-1.18, depth at base .35-. 50, tarsus 1.90- 
i.oo." (Bailey) Eggs: i, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on islands near New Zealand and southern Australia 
and migrates northward to Bering Sea. In Oregon: Casual straggler to coast in 
September, December, January, and May. 

THE SLENDER-BILLED SHEARWATER, the small companion of the Sooty 
Shearwater, distinguished chiefly by its smaller size and smaller, more 
slender bill, is undoubtedly more common on the Oregon coast than 
records indicate. It is almost impossible to pick individuals out of the 
great swarms of shearwaters present, but there are several records for the 
State. There are three specimens in the Jewett collection, one found dead 
on the beach at Netarts by Mrs. Iva Neilsen (May n, 1916), one found 
at Seaside (September 2.9, 1930), and the third killed just south of the 
Columbia River on one of our offshore trips (September 2,3, 1932.)- 
Gabrielson also has three skins, one found dead on the beach at Netarts 
by Iris Gabrielson (December 2.7, 1932.)* one ^ rom Depoe Bay, taken by 
Braly (January i, 1935), and one from Clatsop Beach (January 12., 1935). 


In December 1934 and January 1935, Slender-billed Shearwaters and 
Pacific Kittiwakes seem to have been on the coast in considerable num- 
bers, as dead birds were found repeatedly by Braly and the authors along 
the entire northern coast. Many of those found were not saved because 
of the condition in which they were discovered, but the evidence points 
to an unusual abundance of the two species. The original type of this 
bird was described from Townsend's collection as near the mouth of the 
Columbia River. In view of our present knowledge, it is possible that 
the specimen was obtained in that vicinity, although some of Townsend's 
other records of birds taken off the mouth of the Columbia River have 
never been confirmed. 

Sooty Shearwater: 

Puffinus griseus (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION.- "Entire plumage sooty gray except for white under wing coverts, 
which are mottled with gray at tips; bill and feet dusky or black. Wing: 11.15- 
ii.oo, bill 1.55-1.70, depth of bill at base . 45-^5, tarsus 2..I2.-2..35." (Bailey) Eggs: 
i, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on many islands near New Zealand and also Cape 
Horn and ranges north to Aleutians and Greenland. In Oregon: Appears on coast 
first in May and is present in great numbers during August and September, dwindling 
after October i to a few individuals that may remain as late as November. 

THE GRACEFUL SOOTY SHEARWATER, known to the fishermen on the coast 
as the "Whale Bird," is the most abundant seafowl present. It was first 
definitely recorded from Oregon by Loomis (1901), who found it off the 
mouth of the Rogue River. Woodcock (1902.) listed it for Yaquina Bay. 
These are the only written records of its occurrence in the State prior to 
our own work. Breeding on the islands in the vicinity of New Zealand 
and also near Cape Horn, these shearwaters swarm northward across the 
equator in incredible numbers on both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. 
We have found them to be regular summer visitors to the Oregon coast 
from May until November (our earliest date, May 5 ; our latest, November 
2.7), sometimes prevalent in unbelievable numbers. They can be found in 
some numbers in every month of this period, but most of them pass to 
the northward, possibly far offshore, and swing south again in August 
and September, the months when they appear off the Oregon coast in 
numbers not computable, the great flocks sometimes taking hours to pass 
a given point. They fly either in a steady column, or, after stopping to 
feed off the surface of the water, the birds in the rear rise and fly over 
those ahead. 

They are expert fishermen and often follow great schools of anchovies 
close inshore, congregating in great screaming, struggling, fighting masses 
as the fishes come close to the surface. When full fed they frequently rest 

SHEARWATERS AND FULMARS: Family Procellariidae [ 83 ] 

on the water in extended companies, being at such times often so loath 
to move that a boat can enter the resting swarms before they take wing 
ahead of the bow. In common with other birds of their class, they pick 
most of their food from the surface of the sea and seem to be particularly 
fond of squid. We have had examinations of three stomachs, collected at 
various times, that bear out claims of various writers that these birds 
subsist to a large extent on squid. One stomach was empty except for 
about 60 pebbles that weighed about 3 ounces; the second contained 
squids' eyes, bills, and fragments representing about 2.5 individuals; and 
the third contained 32. squids' mandibles. 

Pink-footed Shearwater: 

Puffinus creatopus Coues 

DESCRIPTION. "Breast and throat white, shading into brownish gray of upper parts 
and under tail coverts; bill yellowish, feet flesh color. Length: 19, wing 11.50- 
13.15, bill 1.60-1.70." (Bailey) Eggs: i, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in December and January on Juan Fernandez and 
Santa Clara Islands off coast of Chile and wanders north to southern Alaska. In 
Oregon: Regular August and September visitor to coast. 

THE PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER is the largest of the white-breasted shear- 
waters that we have so far discovered on the Oregon coast, where it 
occurs in August and September (our earliest record, July 10, latest, 
September 2.3) in company with great swarms of Sooty Shearwaters. It 
is a fairly common species and is seen both as single individuals mixed 
in the great swarms and as smaller separate flocks of three or four to a 
dozen birds. It is one of the comparatively few species that breed south 
of the equator and migrate across it to winter in the northern hemisphere. 
We have taken numerous specimens since beginning the offshore work in 
1930, and our publication in the Mutrelet (Gabrielson, Jewett, and Braly 
1930) is the first definite record for the State. We have taken specimens 
off Newport and Depoe Bay and have observed individuals off the Clatsop 
beaches on various occasions. Our experience off the coast has been rather 
meager so far, and it is probable that whenever sufficient work is done 
there, many of these species will be found to be much more abundant than 
our present knowledge indicates. 

In our experience the Pink-footed Shearwater is wilder and more diffi- 
cult to approach than the Sooty. Its flight is very similar to that of the 
much more common dusky-colored species, but the wing beat is a trifle 
slower and more deliberate, somewhat after the fashion of the fulmars. 
Like all masters of the air, it is able to sail either into or across the wind, 
apparently for long distances, without any visible alteration in the posi- 
tion of its wings. 


New Zealand Shearwater: 

Thyellodroma bulleri (Salvin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Mantle gray, in striking contrast to black on head, tail, and 
lesser wing coverts; greater coverts gray, tipped with white; outer primaries black, 
with two thirds of inner webs white; cheeks mottled grayish white; lower parts and 
under wing coverts white. Length: 16.50, wing 11.30, tail 5.10, bill 2.. 60." (Bailey) 
Eggs: i, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Mokohinu Island, New Zealand, and migrates 
across south Pacific to Chile and north along shore to coast of Oregon and Washing- 
ton. In Oregon: Rare visitor to Oregon waters, seen only once when two specimens 
were taken. 

THE NEW ZEALAND SHEARWATER, one of the rarest and least known of all 
the shearwaters, is a rare bird anywhere in the north Pacific. It is known 
from Oregon from two specimens taken by Jewett and Gabrielson (Sep- 
tember 2.2., 1932.) just south of the mouth of the Columbia River (Jewett 
Coll. No. 72.62., Gabrielson Coll. No. 1732.) from a flock of five that flew 
past the boat at long range. So far as known, the only specimens taken 
previously to these are from Monterey Bay, California. These are beauti- 
ful shearwaters, the sharp contrast between the pure white under parts 
and the black cap and slaty back being most striking when viewed from 
the side. The wings seem narrower, longer, and more pointed than those 
of other whale birds, and the flight is more deliberate and direct than 
that of the Sooty Shearwaters. We were able to watch them for some 
time on the wing, and this was the impression of both observers. 

Apparently little is known regarding the migrations or behavior of this 
bird, the only other specimen known from the north Pacific being one 
taken by Gabrielson (October 30, 1932., Coll. No. 18x3), at Grays Harbor, 
Washington, where he collected a single bird out of a great flock of Sooty 
Shearwaters. This record is only an indication of what might be done. 
If someone had the time and opportunity thoroughly to work Oregon's 
offshore waters, undoubtedly there would be found many regular visitors 
and many more stragglers of which we now know nothing. 

Pacific Fulmar: 

Fulmams glacial is rodgersi Cassin 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill short and stout, wider than deep at base, nasal tubes occupying 

about half the length of bill and opening as one tube; nasal tubes and tip of bill 

yellow. Light phase: head, neck, and under parts white; upper parts bluish gray, 

with quills darker. Dark phase: whole plumage deep plumbeous. Length: 17-19, 

wing ii. 90-12.. 35, bill 1.35-1.65." (Bailey) Eggs: i, white, deposited in a shallow 


DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on islands of Bering Sea and on adjacent coast of 

SHEARWATERS AND FULMARS: Family Procellariidae [ 85 ] 

Asia. Winters over north Pacific as far south as Lower California on American side. 
In Oregon: Quite common and regular winter resident off coast from September to 

UNDER THE HEADING "Pacific Fulmar" are now included both the Pacific 
Fulmar and the bird reported in Woodcock's Annotated List of the Birds of 
Oregon (1901) as Rodgers Fulmar. It was formerly believed that the 
Pacific Fulmar had both a gray and a light phase and that there was 
another very similar light fulmar called Rodgers Fulmar, but the two are 
now generally regarded as one species and are so placed in the last A. 0. U. 
Check-List. Therefore, both the light and dark fulmars found off the 
Oregon coast are included herewith. Woodcock (1901) and Bailey (1917) 
are the only ones except ourselves who have mentioned the Pacific Fulmar 
as an Oregon bird. Woodcock listed it on the authority of B. J. Brether- 
ton, and Mrs. Bailey stated she found it dead on the beaches following 
severe storms. 

It is a common and regular winter resident off the Oregon coast, and 
we have found it in every coastal county. It arrives in September and 
remains until well toward the first of March (our earliest date, September 
19; our latest, February 2.6). Undoubtedly it is present later in the spring, 
as it is known to occur on the California coast as late as mid-April, but 
the small amount of work done off the Oregon coast in the spring months 
because of the usual stormy conditions prevailing at that time has 
prevented our records from being anything more than fragmentary. 

We have known the Pacific Fulmar largely from dead birds picked up 
on the beach through the winter, usually a single bird or a few. It is 
evident that even these masters of the air have their troubles in the wild 
storms that occasionally lash our coast and are either weather killed or 
find it impossible to obtain sufficient food. On November zo and zi, 
19x1, during and following a terrific southwester, Gabrielson found many 
hundreds of them dead on the Tillamook beaches. On the zoth, during 
the same storm, numbers of them were dead on the beach between 
Netarts and Three Arch Rocks. On the zzd, at Barview, which is just 
at the north entrance of Tillamook Bay, the combination of tide and wind 
had thrown ashore, just north of the jetty, many thousands of birds, the 
great bulk of which were Pacific Fulmars, but which included ducks of 
several species, scoters, loons, grebes, and even ravens. The beach for a 
mile or more north of the jetty was covered with dead birds, and scattered 
individuals were visible beyond the point where Gabrielson turned back. 

These beautiful sea birds in their soft gray or gray and snow-white 
plumage are one of the offshore attractions of the fall and winter months. 
Like the shearwaters, they are masters of the air, capable of sailing for 
long distances on set wings and at the same time being able to turn and 
wheel by dipping the wing on the inside of the circle. They are adept 


at rising over breakers or dipping down into the troughs as the vagrant 
air currents permit. When the wings are used in flying, the beat is some- 
what slower and more deliberate than that of the shearwaters but carries 
the same impression of power and expertness found in the more slender- 
bodied birds. 

We have only one stomach examination of this bird taken off the Ore- 
gon coast. This stomach contained bits of beaks and eye lenses of three 
squids, feathers, lining of eggshell, and coniferous needles, the latter two 
obviously debris, as the bird was collected on December 2.9. 

Storm Petrels: Family Hydrobatidae 

Forked-tailed Petrel: 

Oceanodroma jurcata (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION.- "Body light bluish gray, fading to white on chin, throat, and under 
tail coverts; bend of wing, quills, and space around eye, dusky." (Bailey) Downy 
young: "The downy young when first hatched is covered with long, soft, thick down 
foreshadowing the color of the parent, except on the chin and throat, which are 
naked. The color varies from 'deep mouse gray' or 'light mouse gray' above to 
'pale mouse gray' below." (Bent) (See Plate n, A.") Sz%e: "Length 8.00-9.2.0, 
wing 5.90-6.40, bill .60, tail 3.75-4.00 forked for about i." (Bailey) Nest: A small 
enlargement of an underground burrow, sometimes lined with a little dried grass. 
Eggs: i, dull white, with a cloud of faint minute dark specks forming a wreath or 
patch on the large end. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on north Pacific from Kurile and Aleutian Islands 
south to northern California. Winters over north Pacific as far south as southern 
California. In Oregon: Breeds on Three Arch Rocks and possibly other offshore 
islands. Probably winters sparingly. 

THE ONLY definitely known breeding place of the little Forked-tailed Petrel 
in Oregon is on Three Arch Rocks, where it is much the less common of 
the two breeding petrels. Like others of its race, it excavates burrows 
in the earth on the upper parts of the rock and lays a single dull white 
egg that is more or less wreathed at the upper end with minute dark spots. 
In the colonies, these burrows sometimes intersect each other until it is 
almost impossible to form any idea of the extent of a single excavation. 
Finley, first in 1902. and later in subsequent publications, wrote of this 
petrel as an Oregon bird. Numerous specimens have been collected on 
Three Arch Rocks and on the beaches, and Jewett had one bird brought 
to him alive that was captured on the Columbia above Astoria on January 
30, 1916. This is the only winter specimen, but winter collecting condi- 
tions off the Oregon coast are not the best. 

These petrels are beautiful birds, with soft gray plumage and forked 
tails, reminding one very much of small dainty terns in shape and general 
appearance. As they are almost entirely nocturnal in their habits while 

STORM PETRELS: Family Hydrobatidai 

[8 7 ] 

Plate n, A. Downy young Forked-tailed Petrel, removed from nest burrow. (Photo 
by Alex Walker.) 

Plate n, B. Young White Pelicans. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 


in the State, few people have seen them alive on the wing. They are 
present on the Oregon coast from May to November (earliest date, May 
9; latest, November 2.5) and possibly through the winter, although we 
have no direct evidence on this point and little is known of their where- 
abouts or migrations. Occasionally, at least, in common with the other 
sea birds, they suffer from severe storms. Between May 9 and n, 1916, 
Mrs. R. C. Neilson found numbers of them dead on the ocean beach of 
the Netarts Sand Spit, and Gabrielson found remains of xi on the beach 
between Netarts and Three Arch Rocks on November 19 and 2.0, 102.1, 
during the same big storm that was responsible for the destruction of so 
many Pacific Fulmars on the Oregon coast. 

Beal's Petrel: 

Oceanodroma leucorhoa beali Emerson 

DESCRIPTION. "Uniform sooty brown, washed with a bluish slate-gray on head, 
throat, chest and back, the gray most pronounced on head and chest; forehead, chin 
and upper throat decidedly ashy; greater and median wing-coverts edged with ashy; 
upper tail coverts white with black shafts; lateral lower coverts edged with whitish; 
rectrices black with white at base." (Emerson, 1906) Downy young: "When first 
hatched it is covered with long, soft, thick down varying from 'hair brown' at the 
base to 'smoke gray' at the tips." (Bent, in describing the young of Leach's Petrel, 
which applies equally well to this subspecies.) "Si%e: Male, wing 5.90, tail 3.10, 
forking of tail 0.80, tarsus 0.87. Female, wing 5.75, tail 3.10, forking of tail 0.70, 
tarsus 0.90." (Emerson, 1906) Nest: A slight enlargement of an underground bur- 
row, sometimes lined with a little dried grass. Eggs: i, dull to pure white, some- 
times wreathed on the larger end with faint spots or other markings. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on islands from southern Alaska to central California. 
In Oregon: Breeds on Three Arch Rocks, Island Rock off Port Orford, the rocks near 
Brookings, and possibly on other islands off coast. 

BEAL'S PETREL is present on the Oregon coast probably all through the 
year in small numbers, but it is most abundant between May and August 
(our earliest date, May 9; our latest, August 18). It is much the more 
common of the two species on the coast and breeds abundantly on Three 
Arch Rocks. The colony there has long been famous, owing largely to 
the writings of Finley, Jewett, and others who have visited it. Finley's 
(1902.) explorations of the bird rocks of the Oregon coast first made this 
species and others definitely a part of the State fauna, and since this time 
little has been added to our knowledge of the bird. In 1930, Braly found 
it nesting on Island Rock off Port Orford, where, on June 15, he obtained 
downy young birds and eggs. We have several times found wings and 
feathers about excavated nest burrows on the inshore rocks near Port 
Orford. Small predators, principally skunks, have access to these islands 
at extreme low tides and quickly take advantage of that occasion to get 

STORM PETRELS: Family Hydrobatidae [ 89 ] 

a meal of petrel eggs and young, or adults even. Jewett has one skin in 
his collection (No. 2.860) taken July 10, 192.3, in the Willamette River 
near Portland, certainly an odd place for a petrel. 

As in the case of other petrels, little is known of the migratory move- 
ments of Beal's Petrels, although presumably they spend the period when 
not breeding in wandering over the ocean. They are frequently reported 
by travelers, but the difficulty of distinguishing the numerous species that 
occur on the oceans of the world has prevented definite knowledge of 
their movements. Like the less common Forked-tailed Petrel, they are 
nocturnal, and few persons have seen them in life. With the coming of 
dusk, they leave their nesting rocks for their feeding grounds at sea, and 
fishermen report having heard their twittering as they traveled back and 
forth at night. 

Order Felecanitormes 

Pelicans: Family Pelecanidae 

White Pelican: 

Pelecanus erythrorhynchos Gmelin 

DESCRIPTION. "Tail feathers 2.4. Breeding plumage: mainly white, primaries and 
most of secondaries black; back of head with thin white or yellowish crest, breast 
and lesser wing coverts with narrow lanceolate yellowish feathers; upper mandible 
with upright horn. Post-breeding plumage: crest replaced by short grayish feathers, 
upper mandible without horny excrescence. Adults in winter plumage: back of head 
white; bill pouch and feet pale yellow instead of orange. Young: white, with gray 
on top of head and lesser wing coverts. ' ' (Bailey) Downy young: Born naked but soon 
covered with soft pure white down. Si^e: "Length 4^2 to nearly 6 feet, extent 8^2 
to nearly 10 feet, wing zo.oo 2.5.15, bill 11.05-15.00; weight about 17 pounds." 
(Bailey) Nest: Often only a depression in the ground, sometimes a structure built 
up above ground with almost any available material. In the tule marshes often 
trampled masses of tule that form great floating platforms. Eggs: i to 3, with 2. the 
usual number, dull white, with usually more or less of a calcareous deposit (Plate 
12., A). 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Manitoba and North Dakota west and south 
to British Columbia and Pyramid Lake, Nevada, to Salton Sea, California. Winters 
along southern coasts southward. In Oregon: Breeds, or formerly bred, in Klamath, 
Lake, and Harney Counties. Now much reduced in numbers. 

THE WHITE PELICAN, one of the largest and most majestic birds of Oregon, 
arrives in March and remains until November (earliest date, March n; 
latest, November 13, both Klamath County). Formerly very abundant in 
the State, it has been very greatly reduced in numbers in recent years. 
Before this reduction occurred, practically every naturalist who visited 
Oregon after Townsend's time (1839) f un d opportunity to visit the great 
pelican colonies and comment at length upon them, so that more has been 
written about this species than about most other water birds. The 
colonies were usually located on great masses of floating tules that had 
been trampled down by the birds until they formed floating platforms, 
often firm enough to support a grown person. There the birds laid their 
eggs, usually two (egg dates from May 10 to June 15), and reared their 

Drainage and unprecedented drought conditions combined seemed to 
doom the species as a nesting bird in Oregon, and in 1932. there was not 
a single known nesting colony in the State. In 1934, however, there was 
a small colony on Upper Klamath Lake, although its location was known 

PELICANS: Family Pelecanidae [ 91 ] 

to few. No one who has read the descriptions of the great nesting colonies 
of lower Klamath and Malheur Lakes by Bendire (1877), Finley (1907^, 
and others can view the present plight of the species with anything but a 
feeling of sadness, and it is to be hoped that when the drought is finally 
broken and the lakes reflooded this magnificent bird will return in num- 
bers to its old nesting grounds. 

Clear Lake, California, just across the Oregon line, still supports a 
colony. It furnishes the pelicans that attract so much attention at 
Klamath Falls, where naturalists and other out-of-door visitors are 
greatly interested in the pelicans that inhabit Link River and gratefully 
catch the fish that spectators throw to them from the bridge. One thrifty 
citizen has made quite an income by keeping on hand quantities of 
minnows that he sells to those who wish to feed the white giants. 

Pelicans, like cormorants, are born naked and ugly (Plate n, B), but 
the young soon acquire a coating of pure white down that remains with 
them until fully grown. The flight feathers of the wings appear first, and 
the body feathers come only after the entire development of the wing 
quills. The feeding of the young by the parents is a unique performance, 
matched only by that of the cormorants. The parent, carrying food in 
its throat, returns to the nest and opens its big bill. The young bird 
thrusts its head far down the parent's throat and feeds greedily on the 
mass of material carried therein. 

After the young can fly, the birds gather in huge flocks on the marshes 
and lakes until they resemble great snow banks in the rays of the sun 
(Plate 12., A). One of the most unique spectacles in the bird world is to 
see a group of these pelicans standing on a bank sunning themselves, with 
their necks extended to the limit and their enormous bills pointing 
straight to the zenith. If the observer happens to be on the water and 
the birds upon even a slight elevation, they seem gigantic as viewed 
through the openings in the tules. On shore, they are rather clumsy and 
awkward-looking; but once launched in the air, there are few more 
magnificent spectacles than these great birds in flight, circling about on 
widespread pinions (Plate n, 5). The ease with which they soar upward 
is something never to be forgotten, and the contrast furnished by their 
white plumage, black wing tips, and yellow bills and feet is most striking. 
On the water, they are equally graceful and loom up among the hordes 
of other waterfowl like great white battleships amid a fleet of motorboats. 

Pelicans feed almost entirely from the water, scooping up fish and other 
food in their capacious beaks and allowing the water to drain out. When 
a school of small fish appears, the excitement is intense as dozens of these 
feathered fishermen engage busily in operating their dredging equipment. 
Because of their fishing habits they have been subjected to a great deal of 
senseless persecution. It is possible that they catch some trout, but 
stomach examinations indicate that they like all other fish-eating birds 


Plate iz, A. White Pelicans, with eggs in left foreground. (Photo by Ira N. Gabriel- 

Plate 11, B. White Pelicans taking'off. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

PELICANS: Family Pelecanidae [ 93 ] 

are willing to take the food that is most easily obtained and that in 
most of the great shallow lakes frequented by them suckers and other 
trash fish answer the purpose. We have no stomach examinations of 
Oregon birds, but the remains about colonies are seldom those of game 
fish. The authors feel strongly that many fish-eating birds are persecuted 
at every turn by people who simply desire to kill anything as magnificent 
in appearance as this bird, working great harm thereby, as the birds cer- 
tainly do no wrong in destroying spawn-eating fish. Where carp are 
present in numbers, game fish suffer correspondingly. As carp are slower 
than game fish, they are much more easily caught by pelicans than the 
latter, and it is inevitable that they furnish a much larger per cent of the 
pelican's diet than the swiftly moving trout and other game fish. 

California Brown Pelican: 

Pelecanus occidentalis californicus Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION. "Tail feathers 2.2.. Breeding flumage: pouch reddish; head, and feathers 
next to pouch, white; crown tinged with yellow; neck, including manelike crest, rich 
velvety brown; upper parts silvery gray, streaked with brownish; under parts brown- 
ish, streaked on sides with white. Winter plumage: head and neck white, tinged 
with yellowish on throat and crown. Young: upper parts grayish brown, darker on 
back; under parts white, tinged on sides with brownish." (Bailey) Downy young: 
Born naked with a dull red skin that changes to black but soon covered with white 
down. Si%e-' "Length 4^2 feet or more, wing xo.5o-x3.x5, bill ix. 2.5-14. 75." 
(Bailey) Nest: A bulky structure of sticks, grass, and rubbish, usually on rocky 
islands, often used year after year with fresh material added. Eggs: i to 3, usually 3, 
dull, dirty white with a rough granular surface. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on islands off coast from Santa Barbara Islands 
southward to the Galapagos Islands and ranges northward between breeding seasons 
to British Columbia. In Oregon: Off coast, from June to December, most abundant 
in August and September. 

THE CALIFORNIA BROWN PELICAN is a breeding bird of the southern part 
of the United States and is known as an Oregon bird only when it makes 
its appearance on the coast between breeding seasons. The number making 
the flight to the coastal bays has decreased markedly in recent years, a 
statement true of most of the larger birds. The northward flight appar- 
ently occurs in July, as the birds are most abundant in August and Sep- 
tember (our earliest date, June 2.1, Curry County), and there are usually 
few present after the first of November (our latest date, December 2.7, 
Tillamook County). Townsend (1839) recorded seeing one on December 
n, 1834, off the mouth of the Columbia certainly the first Oregon record 
and also one of the latest winter dates yet noted. Woodcock (1901) listed 
it from Yaquina Bay. Subsequent to these records our own notes and 
publications are all that are available. We have seen the birds along every 
coastal county and on all the larger bays. Most of them are immature, 
although adults with the distinctly marked heads are not uncommon. 


They are usually seen in solemn flight, singly or with a few others, on 
the larger bays. They are smaller than their white relatives but have the 
same powerful flight and carry themselves with the same absurd dignity. 
Unlike the White Pelican, which does its fishing while sitting on the 
water, these birds fish from the air, circling over the water and dropping 
like giant kingfishers after their prey. When fish are caught, the birds 
usually remain sitting on the water until they have swallowed them, 
when they again take flight and resume fishing operations. These pelicans 
certainly do no harm whatever while off the Oregon coast. Their numbers 
are usually not sufficient to make any appreciable difference, even should 
they feed entirely on valuable fish, which is not the case, however, as all 
available evidence indicates that they like many other fish-eating birds 
feed very largely on small trash fish of no commercial value. One 
Oregon stomach from Sand Lake (November 5) contained two Amphis- 
tichus argenteus, entire save for heads. 

Cormorants: Family Phalacrocoracidae 

Farallon Cormorant: 

Phalacrocorax auritus albociliatus Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in breeding plumage: Throat pouch orange, a narrow crest of 
curved black feathers above and back of each eye; back and wings slaty, feathers 
bordered with black; rest of plumage glossy greenish black. Post-breeding flumage: 
Head without crest. Young: Plumage brownish becoming grayish brown on head 
and neck; throat and breast lighter, sometimes white before the first moult." 
(Bailey) Young, when first hatched, are black, naked, and helpless. Si%e: Length 
2 -9-~33-5> "wing 11.75-13.00, bill 1.90-1.35." (Bailey) Nest: On the coast, usually 
of weeds, grasses, or sticks on the bare rock on offshore islands or precipitous head- 
lands; in the interior, crudely made of sticks in trees or sometimes on the ground 
of tules or weeds, or in masses of broken-down tules. Eggs: 3 to 5, occasionally 
more, very pale blue to bluish white, more or less concealed by a white calcareous 
covering and frequently badly nest-stained. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on offshore islands and rocky headlands from Three 
Arch Rocks, Oregon, south to Mexico and inland through eastern Oregon (Snake 
River, Malheur Lake, etc.) south to southern California. Winters over much of 
breeding territory except where all water freezes up entirely. In Oregon: Breeds on 
almost all offshore rocks and in various places in Klamath, Lake, and Harney 
Counties, occasionally at least along Snake River (usually in Idaho), and perhaps 
other places. 

THE FARALLON CORMORANT (Plate 13, A), in common with all the great 
colony-nesting birds of the interior basin, has attracted much attention 
from ornithologists and consequently enjoys a place of prominence in 
Oregon bird literature somewhat greater than its actual importance would 
seem to warrant. It is the largest and by far the most numerous of the 
three shags that occur regularly in the State and can readily be distin- 

CORMORANTS : Family Pbalacrocoracidae [ 95 ] 

guished from the two smaller species by its bright yellow pouch and bill. 
It nests on the offshore rocks and rocky headlands of the coast and 
abundantly in eastern Oregon, where there are usually great colonies 
(Plate 13, B) in the Klamath country and also in Lake, Harney, and Mal- 
heur Counties. Bendire (1875, J ^77 '> i882.c), Merrill (1888), Finley (1907^ 
1912., 191 5b), and Willett (1919), among others, have written of the huge 
nesting colonies of the lake counties, and since Lewis and Clark (1814) 
reported "cormorants" from the mouth of the Columbia in 1805, nearly 
every bird writer has mentioned them. Townsend (1839) reported the 
species from the Columbia River. His is the first definite record, although 
Lewis and Clark undoubtedly saw this species among other cormorants, 
as it is still a regular inhabitant of the Astoria district. Outside of the 
breeding season, it is likely to be found on any of the larger bodies of 
water, particularly in eastern Oregon and along the coast. It remains the 
year around on open water, except where solid ice forms. 

On the coast the eggs are laid in nests composed of seaweed and various 
other bits of vegetation arranged on the surface of the bare rock. On 
Upper Klamath Lake there is a large colony that builds crude nests of 
sticks in the low-growing willow trees bordering some of the channels 
in the swampy section of the lake (Plate 13, B). This colony contains a 
mixture of Farallon Cormorants, Black-crowned Night Herons, American 
Egrets, and Blue Herons. At Malheur Lake, Willett (1919) reported them 
nesting in clumps of broken-down tules. In the Drews Creek Reservoir, 
Lake County, on a point where a few old giant yellow pines have been 
killed by the raising of the water level of the lake, some dozeri nests of 
a cormorant colony are saddled on the dead limbs of these huge old pines, 
some of them at least 50 feet above the water. A cormorant colony is 
usually a rather smelly place. The nests are filthy, and the trees that 
support them are liberally white-washed with excrement. As if this were 
not enough, bits of decaying fish or other food and dead birds, both old 
and young, add to the stench. 

Nest building commences in April, and the three to five pale bluish- 
white eggs, somewhat covered with a peculiar limy deposit and very 
frequently nest-stained, are usually laid in April or early May. Egg dates 
extend from April 6 to June 15. Nesting is somewhat irregular, and in 
mid-June it is generally possible to find nests in all stages from those con- 
taining newly laid eggs to those containing well-developed youngsters. 
When first hatched, the young are repulsive looking, with wrinkled faces 
and naked jet-black skin. They are blind and helpless but grow very 
rapidly and by early June are well developed and some of them are ready 
to fly. The parents make little effort to defend the young and either sit 
off at some distance and watch an intruder or circle about over his head. 

Just prior to the breeding season, the Farallon Cormorants sometimes 
develop white head plumes that are very ephemeral and generally lost by 



Plate 13, A. Farallon Cormorants. (Photo by Reed Ferris.) 

Plate 13, B. Farallon Cormorant colony at Klamath Lake. (Photo by Ira N. Gabriel- 

CORMORANTS: Family Phalacrocoracidae [ 97 ] 

the time the nesting is started. During the remainder of the year the 
adults are plain iridescent green-black; the young, dull brownish-black. 
Their plumage does not seem to be as well waterproofed as that of the 
ducks, and the birds regularly drape themselves over the bare branches 
about the nest or sprawl with extended wings over the rocks to dry out, 
looking most bedraggled and forlorn. Their flight is strong, direct, and 
rapid, with steady wing beats, although occasionally they sail much as 
buzzards and pelicans do. 

Food of this cormorant consists very largely of fish and other aquatic 
life that it catches by swimming under water, where its snakelike form 
and powerful feet enable it to outswim the minnows, carp, suckers, and 
other fish. The bird is not generally regarded as detrimental to any 
economic interests of man, and although fishermen sometimes claim that 
it destroys large numbers of commercially valuable fish, examinations of 
some Oregon stomachs confirm our belief that trash fish comprise a large 
percentage of its diet. Two stomachs from Warner Valley each contained 
remains of one sucker (Catostomus warnerensis*). One stomach from Tilla- 
mook Bay (taken May 2.0) contained seven or more Chitonotus pugetensis 
and remains of a few shrimp. Three stomachs contained pieces of two 
species of crustaceans, bits of grass, and a mass offish remains, so digested 
as to be unidentifiable, that comprised 95 per cent of the entire contents. 
Another stomach taken at the same time in Tillamook Bay contained the 
remains of six sculpins (Cottus asper), and another (taken January i) con- 
tained remains of one Chitonotus pugetensis. Two other stomachs were 
practically empty and contained only tiny bits of fish bones and crusta- 

Brandt's Cormorant: 

Phalacrocorax penicillatus (Brandt) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill slender, nearly straight; tail short, with narrow, rigid feathers; 
head without crests or elongated tufts. Adults: head and neck glossy blue black, 
except for light brownish patch next co gular sac; under parts glossy greenish black; 
scapulars and wing coverts dull greenish black. Breeding plumage: sides of neck and 
shoulders with long white or yellowish filaments; throat pouch blue. Young: 
plumage brown, throat and under parts paler; upper parts darker, becoming blackish 
on back of neck." (Bailey) (See Plate 14.) Downy young: Born naked with greasy 
black skin but soon covered with a "clove brown" down, "paler below, mottled 
with white on the under parts and wings." (Adapted from Bent.) Si%e: Length 
2.8-33, "wing 10.50-11.75, bill x. 60-1.95, tail 5.50-6.50." (Bailey) Nest: Of sea- 
weeds and mosses on offshore rocks or inaccessible headlands along coast (Plate 14). 
Eggs: 3 to 6, usually 4, pale bluish or white, more or less concealed by a white 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Alaska southward along coast to 
Lower California. Winters over approximately same range. In Oregon: Common 
all along coast on suitable offshore rocks and headlands. Winters on all bays along 


BRANDT'S CORMORANT (Plates 14 and 15) is one of the common permanent 
residents of the Oregon coast and winters regularly on the open ocean 
about the breeding rocks, bays, and inlets, taking refuge in the latter in 
stormy periods, in common with many of the pelagic waterfowl. Very 
little smaller than the huge Farallon Cormorant, it may readily be dis- 
tinguished as it has a dark-colored bill and a blue or black pouch instead 
of a yellow or orange one. It has the same slow, clumsy, but strongly 
sustained flight as its larger relative. Despite its present abundance, it 
was evidently overlooked by early ornithologists, as no one actually 
recorded it until Finley (1902.) first visited Three Arch Rocks and began 
to write about the great Oregon bird colonies. It is most abundant in 
Clatsop, Tillamook, and Lincoln Counties, where the rocky islands or 
precipitous headlands furnish it with the nesting sites it prefers (Plates 
14 and 15). 

This cormorant is one of the birds that one may expect to see on any 
trip to the rocky sections of the Oregon coast at any season of the year. 
Once at Depoe Bay, Gabrielson had a unique opportunity to watch one 
fishing. From the float at the landing where he was sitting, little schools 
of a small anchovy type of fish appeared to be moving through the water 
much as swarms of gnats travel in the air. A Brandt's Cormorant appear- 
ing on the scene put on an interesting performance. Locating one of these 
schools of fish by the broken surface of the water, the bird dove some 
distance away and came up through the swarm of fish, driving them to 
the surface. To the observer on the dock, he appeared first far below the 
fish as a formless black shadow, then rapidly assumed size and form as he 
swiftly glided toward the surface. The fish in panicky confusion bolted 
to the surface making the water fairly boil with their struggles. The 
dark fisherman, darting up from below, almost invariably succeeded in 
catching two or three fish before they scattered and regained the depths. 
The successful catcher crushed its prey in its bill sometimes dropping 
one or two fish in the water swallowed the fish head first, and then, 
locating another swarm, repeated the performance. Several times, when 
it was not possible for the observer to locate any fish from the surface, 
the cormorant dove and reappeared again from far below with a swarm 
of fish ahead of him. This was repeated until the bird could not eat 
another fish, when he hauled out on the rocks and spread himself out in 
the sunshine for his feathers to dry. During the performance the wings 
were not used at all under the water, the motive power being supplied 
solely by the huge feet and legs. This point was carefully noted because 
of Gabrielson 's special interest in the method of progression of various 
kinds of diving birds while under the water. 

Cormorants of all kinds on the Oregon coast are subjected generally to 
a continual persecution on the part of sportsmen and commercial fishermen 
who assert that the birds are terrific destroyers of commercial and game 

CORMORANTS: Family Phalacrocoracidae 


Plate 14. Brandt's Cormorant at nest with young. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and 
H. T. Bohlman.) 



CORMORANTS: Family Phalacrocoracidae [ IOI ] 

fish. No evidence has ever been produced to substantiate this accusation 
against any of our three species. Stomach contents invariably show that 
they feed largely on anchovies, sculpins, stickleback, and other trash fish 
and consume a very small proportion of edible food fish. Only three 
stomachs of Brandt's Cormorant have been examined from the Oregon 
coast. One was empty; one contained remains of four or more Spirontocaris , 
one hermit crab, and one shrimp; and the third showed remains of four 
or more Spirontocaris and a few bones of small minnows. There is no 
evidence whatever on which to justify persecution of this species, and as 
the great bird rookeries of the Oregon coast add a great deal to the attrac- 
tiveness of the coast for tourists and nature lovers, there seems to be no 
good reason why these colonies should not remain undisturbed. 

Baird's Cormorant: 

Phalacrocorax pelagicus resplendent Audubon 

DESCRIPTION. "Breeding plumage: Throat pouch dull coral red; crown and back of 
head with purplish green crests; neck with loose white filaments; flank with large 
circular white patch; head and body dark glossy green, changing to rich purple on 
neck and purplish green on wings; quills and tail black. Post-breeding plumage: crests, 
white filaments, and white flank patch wanting. Young: dusky brown, lighter on 
head; upper parts darker, with a tinge of green." (Bailey) Downy young: Born naked 
with black skin but soon covered with a short, thick down, sooty gray in color. 
Si%e: "Wing 9.30-10.50, tail 5.80-7.00, bill 1.65-1.00." (Bailey) Nest: Usually of 
kelp and seaweed, placed on the most inaccessible cliffs and rocks. Eggs: 3 to 7, 
usually 3 to 5, much like those of other cormorants, pale blue or white, coated with 
a white calcareous material. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern British Columbia to Mexico. Winters 
in approximately same territory. In Oregon: Permanent resident of coast. Breeds on 
suitable rocks and cliffs from Three Arch Rocks southward. Winters on open ocean 
and salt-water bays. 

UNDER THE TITLE "Baird's Cormorant" will be found both the bird 
known as "Baird's" and records and literature of the "Violet-green Cor- 
morant," which is a northern form of this species. There is no evidence 
to indicate that the Violet-green Cormorant has ever actually been taken 
on the Oregon coast, but Baird's Cormorant is a permanent resident, 
breeding on suitable rocks and cliffs from at least Three Arch Rocks south 
to the California line and wintering all along our coast, both on the open 
ocean and on the salt-water bays and inlets. It has been known as an 
Oregon bird since Townsend (1839) listed it from the mouth of the 
Columbia, but little attention was given it until Finley's work on the 
coastal bird rookeries in 1901 and thereafter. 

In the hand, it is one of the most beautifully feathered of all Oregon 
water birds with its resplendent iridescent plumage of shining greens and 
purples. It is the smallest cormorant in the State, but its flight is much 


more graceful and rapid than that of its two larger relatives. It builds 
its nest of seaweed and other vegetable matter on shelves and ledges of 
the most precipitous rocks and cliffs. There it lays its three to five eggs 
in early June, and there are hatched its homely, naked, black youngsters, 
which are soon covered with a peculiar sooty-gray down. The latest 
definite dates on which eggs have been collected are June 2.8 and 2.9, 1899 
(Prill 1901). The young remain in the nest for a number of weeks and 
require constant attention from the parents until they are able to fly. 

This beautiful bird is subjected to the same tireless persecution by 
fishermen as every other species of cormorant. Two stomachs collected 
at Netarts were both practically empty. One contained a few bones of a 
small fish; the other, a few fragments of a crustacean. Stomach examina- 
tions from other localities show that this species, like other cormorants, 
feeds on the teeming millions of trash fish that are found in salt waters. 
It has less tendency to go inland than either of its relatives, and it is 
entirely unlikely that it can do any real harm to the commercial fishing 
interests of the coast. 

Man-o'-war-bird: Family Fregatidae 


Fregata magnificent Matthews 

DESCRIPTION. "Wings very long; tail deeply forked; feet small, half webbed. 
Adult male: plumage black, base of wings glossed with greenish or purplish. Adult 
female: plumage dull black, wings with grayish patch; sides and breast white. 
Young: head, neck, and under parts white; upper parts dull brownish black. Si^e: 
Length 37.50-41.00, wing 11.00-17.10, tail 14.15-19.2.5, forked for about 9, bill 
4.15-5.15." (Bailey) Nest: A crude structure of sticks, placed in tops of low bushes 
or trees. Eggs: i, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in West Indies, Bahamas, on islands off coast of 
Venezuela, and on islands along west coast of Mexico. Winters in adjacent seas, 
ranging north more or less regularly to Florida, Louisiana, and northern California. 
In Oregon: Rare straggler. Only one record. 

THE ONLY Oregon record of the Man-o'-war-bird is of one that appeared 
at Tillamook Rock Light, which is located on a tiny rock just off the 
coast of Clatsop county. This bird was first noticed soaring over the rock 
on the morning of February 1 8, 1935. It swung slowly from side to side 
until sundown, when after several attempts to find a roosting place it 
settled on a small iron tripod. During the night it moved, and the keeper 
on watch noticed it perched on a cable. In the morning it was found dead. 
Realizing that it was a stranger, Mr. Hugo Hansen skinned it out and 
later presented the bird to Jewett. It was not sexed. 


er ^iconnrormes 

Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns: Family Ardeidae 

Treganza's Heron: 

Ardea herodias tregan^ai Court 

DESCRIPTION. Much like the California Heron, but upper parts and neck paler in 
color. Si%e: Wing 17.50, tarsus 5.30, bill 5.90. Nest: In trees, bushes, or on the 
ground; the first two types made of sticks, the latter, sometimes of tules. Eggs: 3 
to 6, dull greenish blue (Plate 16, A). 

DISTRIBUTION. Genera!: Breeds from southern Wyoming, southern Idaho, and east- 
ern Washington south to southern California, southern New Mexico, and western 
Texas. Winters south into Mexico. In Oregon: Permanent resident of eastern Ore- 
gon. Breeds in suitable areas throughout territory. Winters in small numbers along 
streams that remain unfrozen, such as the Columbia, Snake, Deschutes, John Day, 
Malheur, and Klamath Rivers. 

TREGANZA'S HERON, which differs from the western Oregon form only in 
being somewhat paler in color, is as common and widely distributed in 
eastern Oregon as the California Heron is in the western part of the State. 
It is found at times in every county east of the Cascades and has been 
reported by every ornithologist since Bendire (1877) found it breeding at 
Malheur Lake, in April. There are thriving colonies at Malheur Lake, in 
the Warner Basin, and on Upper Klamath Lake, and numerous smaller 
ones along the streams of the State. After the young are able to fly, these 
herons wander widely, often being found most unexpectedly at the 
smallest water holes in the arid country. We have found it wintering 
regularly in Deschutes, Malheur, Klamath, Wasco, and Umatilla Coun- 
ties along streams that do not freeze during the winter and have casual 
winter records for Crook (February 10), Grant (December 12. and Feb- 
ruary 1 6), Union (January 12.), Baker (December 12.), Wallowa (December 
2.8), and Morrow (December 3) Counties. In fact, it may be expected to 
appear in winter wherever there is open water. 

In wooded country this subspecies builds bulky nests of sticks in the 
treetops, but in the great open marsh country it must resort to different 
locations. Nests in Harney Valley and the Warner Lakes districts are 
placed on low bushes, on the rocks, or even on the ground, where there 
is no other recourse. They are often handsomely built of sagebrush 
(Plate 1 6, A), and where the birds are undisturbed the nests are appar- 
ently used for many years, a slight addition being made to the mass each 
season. Egg dates are from April n to May 2.8. 



Plate 16, A. Nest and eggs of Treganza's Heron. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 

Plate 16, B. Nests and eggs of California Heron in the treetops. (Photo by J. C. Braly.) 

HERONS, EGRETS, AND BITTERNS: Family Atdeidae [ 105 ] 

Wherever it occurs in Oregon, this gaunt fisherman suffers much at the 
hands of sportsmen who persecute the entire tribe out of a feeling of 
resentment toward any competition, real or imaginary, for the supply of 
fish. As a matter of fact, there is little scientific basis for their belief in 
this bird's enormous destruction of game fish. Stomach examinations 
show that an overwhelming percentage of the food is trash fish, such as 
suckers, carp, and chubs, together with frogs, crayfish, and other aquatic 
forms of life. A little careful thinking would show without question 
that this is logical. With the heron, it is not a question of selecting a 
certain type offish because of its sporting proclivities but rather entirely 
a question of procuring a meal. It is therefore to be expected that in a 
stream containing slow-moving fish, often in numbers greater than the 
game fish, the heron would find it much easier and just as satisfactory to 
take the former. This is exactly what happens over the greater part of 
the State, although around a trout or salmon hatchery our elongated 
subjects are not at all averse to helping themselves to the fish so con- 
veniently confined for them. Not only do they eat fish, but they can often 
be found far from water successfully hunting such tidbits as snakes, 
meadow mice, and other small mammals. 

California Heron; Blue Heron; Blue Crane: 

Ardea herodias hyferonca Oberholser 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Upper parts bluish gray; top of head white, bordered by 
black and with black occipital crest; shoulders black, striped with white; under 
parts heavily streaked with black and white; thighs and edge of wings cinnamon 
brown. In breeding season: crest with two or more slender white plumes. Young: 
whole crown and crest black; wing coverts without white or rufous spots." (Bailey) 
Sz%e: Wing i8.62.-i9. 5, bill 5.41-5.70, tarsus 6.70-7.41. Nest: In western Oregon, 
usually a bulky mass of sticks in tall trees, the eggs being laid in a hollow in the 
platform. Eggs: 3 to 6, dull greenish blue (Plates 16, B, and 17, A). 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Pacific Coast from western Oregon to San Diego, 
California. Winters in about same territory. In Oregon: Permanent resident west 
of Cascades. Recorded in every county in that section, either in our own notes or 
published literature. 

THIS ELONGATED blue-gray fisherman 4 feet of legs, slender body, and 
long neck terminating in a javelinlike beak is without doubt the most 
widely known water bird in Oregon. Every creek, however small, and 
every pond, however well hidden, are likely to be visited at intervals 
either by this form or the preceding one found east of the Cascades. The 
ungainly appearance of the California Heron in the air and its large size 
combine to call it to the attention of the least observant. Townsend 
(1839) and Newberry (1857) both recorded it, and almost all ornithol- 
ogists since have noted its presence. Numerous breeding colonies have 
been reported the best known in western Oregon undoubtedly being the 




Plate 17, A. Nests of California Heron, up 150 feet. (Photo by J. C. Braly.) 

Plate 17, B. Young American Egret. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 

HERONS, EGRETS, AND BITTERNS: Family Ardeidae [ 107 ] 

one that was located for many years at Linnton (Plate 16, B) near the 
city limits of Portland and the bulky nests in tall trees are a familiar 
sight to many Oregonians. 

The eggs are laid through the spring, usually in March and April, and 
the summer is well advanced before the ungainly youngsters are able to 
leave the nests to fish for themselves along the streams and ponds. The 
parents feed them during the long nestling period in exactly the same 
manner as described for the American Bittern, and the sight of a half- 
grown youngster grimly following the contortions of its ungainly parent 
is one never to be forgotten. 

Birds from the Portland colony are intermediates between this form 
and the darker A. h. fannini but are somewhat closer to the latter in 
coloration. Doubtless occasional wintering birds might well be typical 
of the latter race, but to date we have not collected enough material to 
determine this point with certainty. We both feel that Columbia River 
birds are closer to such Puget Sound birds as we have had available for 
comparison, but the material is not complete enough to warrant a final 

American Egret: 

Casmerodius alb us egretta (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Plumage always pure white. Adult in nuptial plumage: scapular 
plumes of dissected filamentose feathers covering back and reaching well beyond end 
of tail; head and neck without crests or long feathers; feet and legs black; bill yellow; 
usually blackish near tip. Post-breeding plumage and young: back without plumes. 
Length: 37-41, wing 14.10-16.80, bill 4.2.0-4.90, tarsus 5.50-6.80." (Bailey) Nest: 
Sometimes a loose platform of sticks in trees, at other times built on platforms of 
bent-down tules. Eggs: 3 to 6, usually 4 or 5, pale bluish green. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Oregon and California and from Arkansas, Ten- 
nessee, North Carolina, and Florida far south into South America. Winters over 
most of breeding ground. In Oregon: Summer resident and breeding species of Harney 
and Klamath Counties. Casual records in Lake County. Record of a single bird in 
Multnomah County. 

THE AMERICAN EGRET (Plate 17, B), one of the showiest species found in 
Oregon, arrives in April (earliest date, April n) and remains until late 
October (latest date, November 19). The only breeding colonies now 
known in the State are in Harney Valley and Upper Klamath Lake, and 
if the birds are seen away from these areas, it is largely in late summer 
during the postbreeding wanderings. The Harney Valley colony, the 
northernmost known one of the species, was first reported by Bendire 
(Brewer 1875), wno f un d "at least 300 nests," and has been an attrac- 
tion to ornithologists ever since. For years it was the only known breed- 
ing colony of these pure white herons in Oregon. The activities of plume 
hunters and possibly other factors caused a gradual reduction in the 


thriving colony until Finley (icpSb) was able to report only two birds 
in the valley. That was apparently the low ebb, however, for in 1911 
Finley found 61 birds and in 1912., 2.3 adult birds and n nests. Willett 
(1919) found 2.0 pairs nesting in the Malheur Lake Reservation, the only 
colony he could locate. Even though so greatly diminished in numbers, 
the birds still return each year to the valley to nest, shifting the location 
of their breeding colony from year to year. 

Our own notes on the varying fortunes of this colony began in 1911 
when Jewett first visited it and found 16 pairs breeding on the Double O 
Ranch. In 1919, Gabrielson saw a few nests still containing well-grown 
young on the Island Ranch. There were numerous other nests that may 
have been occupied, but the visit was too late to determine accurately the 
number breeding. In 192.2., Jewett and Dr. L. E. Hibbard visited the 
colony, which was again located in willows on the Island Ranch, found 
about 40 nests with young or eggs, and counted 80 adults. Some nests 
contained as many as 10 eggs, and numbers of dead young were on the 
ground. Dr. W. B. Bell, Jewett, and Gabrielson next visited the colony 
in 192.6, again on the Island Ranch. They found about 2.5 nests contain- 
ing eggs or young and counted 40 adults. In 1930, the colony was near 
Burns in a clump of willows at Potter Swamp. There were only 10 or 12. 
nests with young, but whether this was the entire population is not 

The nests are usually built of sticks and are located in the tops of the 
stunted willows, generally not more than 10 to 15 feet from the ground, 
so that the great white herons are visible for a long distance. When the 
birds locate in the marshes, however, as occasionally happens, the nests 
are more or less carefully made structures of tule stems woven into bent- 
over tules. The colonies, like those of all other herons, are interesting, 
if smelly places. The willows and the ground beneath are more or less 
whitewashed and strewn with rotting remains of fish, frogs, small 
animals, and other food brought to the young. There are also usually a 
number of dead young, adding to the stench. These rookeries have a mag- 
netic attraction for crows, magpies, and ravens that hover about or perch 
in nearby trees awaiting a chance to snatch the unguarded eggs or young. 
Coyote tracks and telltale prints of any other four-footed predator that 
happens to be in the vicinity are usually in evidence on the ground beneath 
the trees. The adults are not particularly wild, sailing back and forth 
over the colony during our visits or standing in a loose company approxi- 
mately 100 yards away. 

Mearns (1879), i n h* 8 rcpo rt on Lieutenant Wittich's collection at Fort 
Klamath, reported one egret collected there on January 8, 1878. Merrill 
(1888) reported that a few were seen at Fort Klamath during the summer 
and that a single bird passed the winter on Wood River. These two are 
the only winter records for the State. J. J. Furber, when warden, fre- 

HERONS, EGRETS, AND BITTERNS: Family Ardeidae [ 109 ] 

quently reported one or two birds seen usually in October or November, 
although he reported two on June 8, 1913. Jewett saw a single bird at 
Agency Lake, October 7, 1932.. On May 30, 1934, H. M. Worcester, then 
warden on Upper Klamath Lake Reservation, and the writers found at 
least three pairs of American Egrets in the Blue Heron and Farallon Cor- 
morant colony on that refuge. High water prevented entry into the 
willows, but from their actions we were certain the birds were nesting. 
Later Worcester returned and found several nests, the first known with 
certainty in the Klamath basin. 

Henshaw (1880) reported this egret as a common breeding species at 
the Warner Lakes, but no nesting colony has been known there for many 
years, the only recent record being a single bird reported by M. E. Jacobs, 
May 2.5, 192.5, as staying several days on a small lake at the Guano Ranch. 
This ranch lies east of the Warner Lakes near the south end of Hart 

Our only record for western Oregon is of a single bird, first reported 
by local residents to W. A. Eliot as a "white crane," staying on the river 
bottoms near the Swan Island airport in Portland. The two writers upon 
hearing of it immediately visited the place (September n, 1933), in 
company with C. A. Leichhardt, and found a single egret that remained 
several days. 

We have had no Oregon stomachs to examine, but in general the food 
consists of small aquatic forms, with seldom any fish of food value in- 
cluded. Baynard (1911), who forced 50 young egrets in Florida to dis- 
gorge their meals immediately after they had eaten, found the items of 
the 50 meals to total as follows: "2.97 small frogs, 49 small snakes, 
mostly the water moccasin, 61 young fish, suckers, not edible, 176 cray- 

Brewster's Egret: 

Egretta thula brewsteri Thayer and Bangs 

DESCRIPTION. "Plumage always pure white. Adults in nuptial plumage: scapulars 
with long plumes of dissected filamentose feathers reaching beyond tail and recurved 
at tip; head and throat crested; feet yellow, legs black; bill black, with yellow base. 
Post-breeding plumage and young: back without plumes." (Bailey) Si^e: Wing 10.46- 
10.79, culmen -^.^L-^.-'L, tarsus 4.05-4.43. Nest: Either a loose platform of sticks in 
a tree or, more commonly in the West, tule stems supported by a mass of bent-over 
and broken-down tules. Eggs: 3 to 6, usually 4 or 5, pale green. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Utah, Nevada, and California south to Lower 
California. Wanders north to British Columbia and Alberta after breeding season. 
In Oregon: Formerly bred in Harney County. 

BREWSTER'S EGRET, a dainty little snow white bird, with blacklegs and 
yellow feet, can now be considered only as a rare straggler in Oregon. 
Bendire (1877) recorded the "Great White Egret" as: "a moderately com- 


mon summer resident, breeding in the thick willows on the lower Sylvies 
River, in company with other species of herons," and then for the "Little 
White Egret," stated: "The same remarks apply to this species, which is 
found in the same locality." This is the only record we have found of its 
breeding within our State. Fawcett, when warden at Malheur, reported 
a few between May 2.4 and 2.6, 1914, and Vernon Bailey saw a dozen on 
Aspen Lake, August 2.4, 1916. On November 3, 1934, Alex Walker took 
a specimen at Tillamook, the only specimen we have of this beautiful 
little heron, which, however, may wander into the State almost any fall. 

Anthony's Green Heron: 

Butorides virescens anthonyi (Mearns) 

DESCRIPTION. Bill longer than tarsus, crown and back with long, lanceolate, but 
not dissected plumes. Adults: Crown and crest, tail, and most of wings dark green; 
scapular plumes bluish green; sides of neck bright yellowish chestnut; belly dusky. 
Young: Similar to adults, but with scapular plumes shorter and darker green; most of 
quills tipped with white and under parts coarsely streaked. (Adapted from Bailey.) 
Si%f: "Length 19.10, wing 8.zo, bill 2-35-" (Bailey) Nest: Woven of sticks and often 
lined with smaller twigs. Eggs: 3 to 6, usually 4 or 5, pale bluish green. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Oregon south to Lower California and northern 
Mexico. Winters south to Central America. In Oregon: Rare summer resident from 
Portland south to west side of Cascades and in Klamath County east of mountains. 

ANTHONY'S GREEN HERON, the paler western form of the Green Heron, 
can be considered as an uncommon summer resident in Oregon. It was first 
reported by Merrill (1888), who saw one on Crooked Creek, Klamath 
County, May 4, 1887. Woodcock (1901) listed it as a common resident 
on Yaquina Bay on reports from Bretherton and at Dayton on informa- 
tion from Hadley. These are the only definite statements we have found 
in literature, although there are many general references to it as an 
Oregon species. 

In the experience of the authors, the bird has been a decided rarity. 
Our notes contain six definite records of its occurrence in the State. 
Jewett saw one near the Oakes Slough in South Portland, June 7, 192.7, 
and took an adult male, June 2.2., 1934, and Gabrielson watched one at 
close range on the bank of a small pond on Sauvies Island, August n, 
1932., all from Multnomah County. Jewett saw a single bird near Olene, 
Klamath County, June 19, 192.8, and he and Vernon Bailey saw two at 
Grants Pass, Josephine County, August 2.6, 192.7. Aside from these there 
are seven skins available. Overton Dowell, Jr., took a male, July n, 
19x3, and a female, August 2.7, 1932., both at Mercer Lake, western Lane 
County, and Prill collected five skins in Linn County during the summers 
of 1933 and 1934. Evidently in recent years the bird has become more 
regular in western Oregon. 

HERONS, EGRETS, AND BITTERNS: Family Ardeidae [ill] 

Black-crowned Night Heron: 

Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill about as long as tarsus. Adults: crown and back black; wings 
and tail ashy gray; forehead and throat creamy white, shading into light gray of 
sides and under parts. Young: crown blackish, streaked with buff; back dusky gray, 
spotted and striped, and quills tipped with buff; neck and under parts coarsely 
striped with buff and dusky. Length: 13-16, wing 1 1.00-11.80, bill 1.80-3.10, tarsus 
3.10-3.40." (Bailey) Nest: A rough structure of sticks, reeds, and grass, built on 
the ground, in tules, or in trees. Eggs: 3 to 7, usually 3 to 5, pale bluish green. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from northern Oregon, southern Manitoba, and 
southern Quebec south to Paraguay and winters from northern California and Ore- 
gon, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, and New York, south. In 
Oregon: Common summer resident and breeder from about May 10 to October i. Un- 
common winter resident in areas where open water remains. 

THE BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON (Plate 18, A), or "quawk," is a 
widely distributed bird in Oregon. It is most abundant in Klamath, Lake, 
Harney, and Baker Counties, but is found at least occasionally along any 
of the waterways of that part of the State. Our own records and field 
notes of other members of the Biological Survey show winter specimens 
and records from Malheur (December 14), Klamath (December 14, Janu- 
ary 2.6, February 17 and 18), Harney (December 2.0, January 15, March 
n), Umatilla (January 15), and Multnomah (December 15, January 14 
and 15) Counties. In western Oregon it is a fairly common resident at 
Portland, where it was formerly more abundant, and a less common resi- 
dent elsewhere. We have no records from Douglas, Jackson, or Josephine 
Counties, and our only coastal record is from Lincoln County, where 
Gabrielson saw a single individual, August n, 1930. Straggling indi- 
viduals are to be expected along the coast, particularly in the lake area 
of Lane and Douglas Counties. 

Townsend (1839) first recorded this species from the State, and prac- 
tically all of the literature since his time refers to the colonies in Harney, 
Klamath, and Lake Counties. Nesting colonies have been definitely re- 
corded from Malheur Lake, Harney County (Bendire 1877; Willett 1919), 
Klamath County (Allen 1909; Walker 1917), Warner Valley, Lake County 
(Prill 192.2^, 192.4)' an< ^ Portland, Multnomah County (Finley i9o6a). 
The birds in Harney County have shifted location several times in recent 
years, but the colony still persists in somewhat diminished numbers. The 
rookery on Upper Klamath Lake, which contained a mixture of Farallon 
Cormorants, Treganza's Herons, and Black-crowned Night Herons, was 
in a thriving condition in 1934, the last year in which either of us visited 
it. We have not visited the Lake County colony, but the herons are still 
common in Warner Valley, so without doubt it is still in existence. We 
do not know the present location of the Portland rookery, but the birds 
still frequent the vicinity in small numbers. Finley, in 1906, reported 2.00 




Plate 18, A. Black-crowned Night Heron. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohl- 

Plate 18, B. Nest and eggs of American Bittern. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

HERONS, EGRETS, AND BITTERNS: Family Ardeidae [ 1 1 3 ] 

nests, but the numbers have greatly diminished in recent years. In addi- 
tion to these well-known rookeries, there is a thriving colony a few miles 
from Baker in a dense willow thicket. The writers together visited it 
first on May 2.5, 192.4, and found about 100 pairs of birds nesting. There 
are doubtless other small groups nesting in eastern Oregon that have not 
been located, due to the comparatively small amount of intensive field 
work in that area. 

The nests, when built in trees, are more or less loosely constructed plat- 
forms of sticks, whereas those in the great marshes are composed of sticks 
or tule stalks and are sometimes built on the water and anchored to living 
tules. The nesting behavior, including feeding of the young, is quite 
similar to that practiced by other herons. Available notes show egg dates 
extending from April n to May 2.8. 

The Black-crowned Night Heron is a shorter and more heavily built 
bird than any other species in Oregon in this group. The adults, with 
the long white crest plumes contrasted against the black crown and back, 
cannot be confused with any other Oregon bird. The striped and spotted 
young are sometimes confused with the American Bittern, but are easily 
distinguished by the following differences: They are much more heavily 
built than the bitterns; the general color tone is gray brown, quite differ- 
ent from the bright-brown, buff, and black pattern of the bittern; and the 
backs of the young are spotted with buff on a dusky-gray background, 
whereas the bittern has no such markings in any plumage. 

American Bittern: 

Botaurus lentiginosus (Montagu) 

DESCRIPTION. "Sexes alike, except for white or buffy nuptial ruffs on sides of breast 
of adult male in breeding season; feathers lax and coarse; upper parts broadly striped 
with dusky on buff; crown and streak along jaw blackish; throat and under parts 
creamy buff, striped with brown. Young similar to adults. Length: 14-34, wing 
9.80-11.00, bill 1.50-3.10, tarsus 3.10-3.85." (Bailey) Nest: On the ground, 
usually near the water, a trampled flat mass of grass, weeds, or rubbish. Eggs: 3 to 
7, buff to buffy brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from central British Columbia, northern Manitoba, 
southern Ungava, and Newfoundland south to southern California, central Arizona, 
Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Ohio Valley, and southern New Jersey. Winters south to 
West Indies and Panama. In Oregon: Common summer resident in eastern Oregon 
from April to October. Less common in western Oregon but found in Willamette 
Valley (Multnomah, Washington, Marion, Lane, and Polk Counties), in south- 
western Oregon (Jackson County), and on coast (Coos, Lane, Tillamook, and 
Lincoln Counties, and probably others). Casual winter resident in Klamath and 
Harney Counties. 

THE AMERICAN BITTERN is easily recognized by its brown, buff, and black 
plumage, green legs, and medium size. Its weird love song is responsible 
for many vernacular names applied to it, as "Thunder Pumper" and 


"Stake Driver." The noise, produced by pumping the gullet full of air 
by convulsive movements, is at times likened to the sound of an old 
squeaky wooden pump and again to the sound produced by the driving 
of a stake. The weird notes, however interpreted, are the voice of the 
marshlands themselves echoing above the gabbling of the coots and the 
noisy clatter of the swamp blackbirds. The species is widely distributed 
and is one of the best known American marsh birds. It was first found in 
the State by Newberry (1857), who called it common. Bendire (Brewer 
1875) reported it from Harney County, and both Mearns (1879) an< ^ 
Merrill (1888) found it in Klamath County. It was reported as a casual 
winter resident in Klamath County by Cantwell (January 2.7 and February 
5, 1915), and Furber (December 30, 1910, and January 18 and 19, 1913) 
and in Harney County by Cantwell (December i and zo, 1914). We have 
found it to be a common summer resident of eastern Oregon, particularly 
in Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties, the great water-bird breeding 
grounds of the State, and have noted it in Baker (August 15), Malheur 
(June 17), and Crook (June 7) Counties. Doubtless with more field work 
it will be found in many others. 

Johnson (1880) was the first to report it from western Oregon, stating 
it was a common resident at East Portland, Salem, and Forest Grove. 
Jewett has recorded it from Tillamook and Coos Counties, and Gabrielson 
has observed it on several occasions about Devils Lake, Lincoln County, 
and once or twice on Sauvies Island, Multnomah County. Migration 
observers have reported it to the Biological Survey from the following 
localities: Aumsville, Marion County (Matteson); Mercer, Lane County 
(O. Dowell, Jr.); and Rickreall, Polk County (Oliver). 

The nest (Plate 18, B~) is usually an unpretentious trampled mass of 
vegetation on the edge of the marsh, although occasionally it is a floating 
platform of broken reeds. Two or more well-defined trails lead away from 
it, and the parents seldom light directly at the nest, preferring to drop 
into the rank vegetation some distance away and stalk quietly to it along 
one of these paths. The few egg dates available extend from May iz to 
May 14, obviously an incomplete record. 

The babies hatched from the dull, buffy-colored eggs are not beautiful 
in any sense of the word. The long, thin, yellowish down does not con- 
ceal their angular forms. In fact the down on the head and neck stands 
stiffly erect as if a constant succession of "hair-raising" experiences had 
finally resulted in fixing the thin covering in a permanent pompadour 
effect. The young are fed partially digested food from the parent's gullet. 
As the parent approaches the nest each youngster commences to jump 
upward, striving to seize the beak of the parent. When successful, the 
young bittern clamps its beak firmly across the base of that of the parent 
exactly as if the intention were to shear it off. Locked together in this 
fashion, the adult goes through a weird series of contortions while the 

HERONS, EGRETS, AND BITTERNS: Family Ardeidae [115] 

offspring hangs on grimly. Eventually a lump of food travels up the 
parent's throat to be disgorged into the mouth of the baby, who allows 
the parent's beak to slip through its own until the morsel falls into its 
open mouth. Frequently the food falls to the nest, and a wild and clumsy 
scramble to get the scattered lunch ensues, often resulting in a tug of war 
as two of the nestlings try to grab the same frog leg or other dainty. 

When flushed, the bittern jumps from the grass with a startled squawk, 
legs dangling loosely and wings flapping wildly; but when once safely 
launched the flight is strong and steady. In the grass it is a master in 
the art of concealment. Its brown and buff stripes blend well with the 
sunlight and shadow in the grass, and the blending is often accentuated 
by the action of the bird. It will draw itself fully erect until the extended 
neck is little larger than a blade of the luxuriant swamp grass and, with 
the bill pointing skyward, will stand motionless for many minutes until 
the observer's neck begins to ache in sympathy with the "crick" he is 
sure must be present in that of the bird. 

Western Least Bittern: 

Ixobrychus exilis hesperis Dickey and Van Rossem 

DESCRIPTION. "Size very small, sexes and young different. Adult male: back, 
crown, rump, and tail greenish black; back of neck and patch on wing chestnut; 
throat and under parts light buff, with two dusky spots on breast. Adult female. : 
back mainly chestnut, and buff of under parts striped with dusky. Young: like 
female, but brown feathers of back tipped with buff." (Bailey) Si%e: Male, wing 
4.80-5.2.5, tail 1.67-1.81, exposed culmen 1.75-1.05, tarsus 1.55-1.70. Female, wing 
4.50-5.10, tail 1.61-1.80, exposed culmen 1.70-1.97, tarsus 1.55-1.65. Nest: A 
loosely woven platform of grass or reeds, attached to the swamp vegetation a few 
inches to several feet above the water. Eggs: 4 to 7, usually 4 or 5, bluish white or 
greenish white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Oregon to central Lower California. 
Winters from southern California southward. In Oregon: Summer resident and breed- 
ing species of Harney, Klamath, and probably Lake Counties. 

THE BEAUTIFULLY marked Western Least Bittern, the smallest North 
American member of the heron family, is perhaps more abundant in 
Oregon than our rather scanty information would imply. Its small size 
and secretive ways render it difficult to observe, and it might be present 
in considerable numbers without being detected by a casual visitor. In 
behavior and actions it is much like its larger cousin, the American 

Bendire (1877) reported that he had seen it twice at Malheur Lake, 
and Willett (1919) found it a rather common breeder at the same lake, 
building its nests (Plates 19, A and E) in the tall tules well out toward the 
open water. Jewett saw two birds in Klamath Falls on November n, 
1911, taken in and near Klamath Falls during the preceding summer, but 


Plate 19, A. Nest and eggs of Least Bittern. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

Plate 19, B. Young Least Bitterns. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

IBISES : Family Threskiornithidae [ 1 17 

without data. There is a specimen in the Biological Survey collection 
taken by Vernon Bailey on July 5, 1899, at Tule Lake, Oregon, long before 
Tule Lake had been reduced in size and confined to California, as at 
present. Wardens stationed at Malheur and Lower Klamath Lakes re- 
ported it as a rare summer visitor, most of the records being in May and 
June (Malheur: Rare, one record between July i and 15, 1912., Lewis; 
and rare, only one bird seen in 19x0, Benson. Klamath: Rare, Lewis; and 
rare, May 2.1, 1913, one June 2.1, and two June 2.6, 1914, Furber). E. S. 
Currier (ic^a) reported it from Blue Lake, Multnomah County, on 
August 7, 192.7, but no specimens were taken. 

Ibises: Family Threskiornithidae 

White-faced Glossy Ibis: 

Plegadis guarauna (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Lores and eyelids naked, rest of head well feathered; bill long and 
narrow, gently curved downward, grooved from nostril to tip. Adults: lores red; 
face whitish; head, neck, shoulders, and under parts dark rich chestnut; crown and 
wings glossed with iridescent purplish and greenish. Young: head and neck streaked 
with white and dusky, and under parts grayish brown. Length: 19-1.6, wing 9.30- 
10.80, bill 3.75-6.00, tarsus 3.00-4.40." (Bailey) Nest: Sometimes a floating plat- 
form, attached to the tules, and at other times well woven into the tules a foot or 
more above the water. Eggs: 3 to 7, usually 3 or 4, pale green. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Nests from Oregon and Utah to southern Texas and southern 
Mexico. Winters from extreme southern United States to South America. In Ore- 
gon: Known only from Malheur Lake and surrounding territory where northernmost 
breeding colony is found. Straggler anywhere else. 

THE HANDSOME White-faced Glossy Ibis (Plate 2.0) is the only representa- 
tive of the family found in the State. Its bronzed iridescent plumage and 
heavy decurved bill serve to distinguish it from any other Oregon bird 
with which it might possibly be confused. It arrives in May and leaves 
in September (earliest date, May 15; latest, October 4, both Harney 
County), and can be looked for regularly in the vicinity of Malheur, 
where a small colony has bred for many years. Coues (1876) reported it 
as a breeding bird at Camp Harney. Willett (1919) reported a colony of 
about 100 nesting pairs in the tules along the west side of Malheur Lake 
that began to deposit eggs about June i. Despite the long-continued 
drought and consequent shrinking of water areas, the birds still remained 
about the lake in small numbers in 1933, but we cannot say whether or 
not they nested that year. 

Aside from these Malheur Lake birds there is a specimen in the Henshaw 
collection taken at Warner Lakes, September 6, 1877, and last known to 
be in the British Museum (Sharpe 1898). So far as we know this is the 



Plate 10. White-faced Glossy Ibis. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

IBISES : Family Threskiornithidae [119] 

only definite Oregon record outside of Harney County. There is an old 
dismounted bird in the National Museum (Cat. No. 12.630) from the 
"Columbia River Oregon" taken on the T. R. Peale U. S. Exploring 
Expedition. Nothing further is known about it. If it is actually an 
Oregon specimen, it probably came from the vicinity of Portland, but the 
record is not definite enough for a locality record. 

The young in the nest are unlovely creatures, being awkward, angular, 
and scantily covered with dull black down, relieved only by a white 
patch on the crown. In August, after the young are able to fly, these 
ibises are to be found in the wet meadows or shallow ponds in Harney 
Valley, feeding on the small aquatic life crustaceans, water insects, 
frogs, and the like the dull black youngsters and ragged molting adults 
being but poor caricatures of the brilliant spring adults. Their move- 
ments and flight are much like those of the curlew strong and rapid 
the flocks sometimes indulging in swift aerial evolutions as perfectly 
synchronized as those of some sandpipers. 



Plate zi, A. Whistling Swan. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

Plate 2.1, B. Young Canada Goose. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

Order /\nserif< 


Ducks, Geese, and Swans: family Anatidae 

Whistling Swan: 

Cygnus columbianus (Ord) 

DESCRIPTION. Adults: Plumage pure white, bill black, large, and high at the base, 
with a naked space reaching the eyes. Lores usually with a small yellow spot. Dis- 
tance from the eye to the back of the nostril greater than the rest of the bill. Young 
birds ashy or tinted with brownish. (Adapted from Bailey.) Downy young: "The 
downy young is described by Dr. D. G. Elliott (1898) as 'pure white, bill, legs, and 
feet yellow'; but the young of European swans are all either pale grayish-white or 
grayish-brown." (Bent) Si%e: Length about 54.00, wing 2.1. 00-2.2.. oo, bill 3.80- 
4.2.0. Nest: Mound of moss, grass, and other vegetable matter. Eggs: 2. to 7, usually 
4 or 5, creamy white to dull white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds north of Arctic Circle from northern Alaska to 
Baffin Island south to St. Lawrence Island and Alaska Peninsula. Winters on Atlan- 
tic Coast from Massachusetts to Florida and on Pacific Coast from southern Alaska to 
Lower California. In Oregon: Migrant and winter resident, most abundant in Octo- 
ber, November, February, and March in migration, but present from September to 

LEWIS AND CLARK (1814) first reported the magnificent Whistling Swan 
(Plate 2.1, A) the largest wild fowl that can still be found in Oregon 
from the mouth of the Columbia River on January 2., 1806, and a few of 
the snowy birds still winter along that stream from Portland westward. 
Nearly every writer since has mentioned it, and it is still fairly common 
within the State. It is most abundant of course during the migratory 
movement of the swans from their Arctic breeding grounds to their 
winter home in California, but it is present from September to May 
(earliest date, August 2.0, Klamath County; latest, June 13, Malheur 
County). Two stragglers were observed on September 2.0 and May 2.6, 
the earliest and latest dates, respectively, on which more than a single 
bird was seen. During February, March, and early April, and again in 
October and November, the birds can be seen by the hundreds, if not by 
the thousands. As late as 1912., the wardens at Malheur Lake estimated 
from 10,000 to 2.0,000 at one time on the lake; and Gabrielson counted 
more than 900 on February 2.4, 192.8, and 565 on March n, 192.9, on 
Spring Lake, a small body of water in Klamath County. Jewett's notes, 
covering Klamath, Harney, and Lake Counties particularly, contain many 
references to a hundred or more birds or to their great abundance. 

The main stopping places for the Whistling Swan in Oregon are the 


great shallow lakes of Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties, although it 
is found in smaller numbers on the Snake and Malheur Rivers (occasion- 
ally -wintering on the latter), on the Columbia River throughout its 
course along the Oregon border, and on the smaller lakes in Wallowa 
County (Wallowa Lake), and in the Cascades (Davis Lake). Jewett found 
four swans -wintering in 1913-14 on Davis Creek, the outlet of the above 
lake. He saw the birds twice in late January. They have been reported 
by many observers from the Willamette Valley and the Lower Columbia 
River. In fact our records and those published by others cover the entire 
State, with the exception of the coast counties south of Clatsop, of 
Jackson and Josephine Counties in southern Oregon (and we believe that 
more opportunity for observation would result in finding them occa- 
sionally in that territory), and of a few interior counties of eastern Ore- 
gon, such as Grant, Wheeler, Union, and Jefferson, where, however, we 
may expect to find them during migration on any sufficient body of water. 
It would be a curious individual, indeed, who would not thrill to the 
musical bugling of these huge white birds and to the sight of them resting 
gracefully on the water or beating their way against the wind with slow 
but powerful thrusts of their wide pinions. Their calls are the very voice 
of the wild untamed north itself, and we rejoice exceedingly that these 
swans seem to be holding their own during the last few years, since 
absolute protection has been afforded them. 

Trumpeter Swan: 

Cygnus buccinator Richardson 

DESCRIPTION. Exactly like the Whistling Swan except for its larger size and differ- 
ences as follows: Bill and lores entirely black, lacking the yellow spot usually 
present in the former species, and the distance from the eye to the back of the nostril 
less than the rest of the bill. Downy young: (Not known.) Si%e: Length 60-66, wing 
2.1.00-2.7.50, bill 4.30-4.70. Nest: A mass of grass, intermingled with feathers and 
down. Eggs: 2. to 8, usually 4 to 6, creamy white to dull white. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Bred formerly from Alaska, northern Mackenzie, and James 
Bay south to British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Mis- 
souri and wintered south to Gulf of Mexico to California. In Oregon: Formerly 
reported by many observers but no authentic records for many years. 

THE TRUMPETER SWAN, the largest and most magnificent North American 
waterfowl, is practically extinct and has been for many years. A few are 
known to breed in British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, and Yellowstone 
Park and, because of the careful protection afforded them, may now be 
holding their own. Whether or not these few remaining birds are enough 
to increase their numbers remains to be seen. 

The first Oregon report of the Trumpeter Swan was made by Lewis and 
Clark (1814) from the mouth of the Columbia River (January z, 1806), 
and they reported it again, from Deer Island (March 18, 1806), on their 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [ 113 ] 

return trip. Townsend listed it in 1839; Newberry (1857) considered it 
not rare in early November on the Columbia River; Bendire (1877) re- 
ported collecting a single specimen at Malheur Lake, March 2.4, 1877; 
Mearns (1879) listed it from Fort Klamath on the authority of Dr. 
McElderry, the post surgeon; Johnson (1880) stated that it was a common 
migrant in the Willamette Valley; Anthony (1886) considered it common 
on the Columbia River; Woodcock (1901) reported it from only two 
localities, one a single bird in the winter of 1894-95 that stayed for several 
days on a small lake near McMinnville (Pope) and one a rare migrant in 
October and May at Dayton (Hadley). Allan Brooks (192.6!)) stated that 
at least 18 birds crossed from British Columbia, at Okanogan, to winter 
in Washington, Oregon, or Idaho, which indicated that there might still 
be a possibility of finding Trumpeter Swans in our State. On September 

7, 192.9, Oberholser, Gabrielson, and Jewett saw a single swan at Davis 
Lake that, judging from its huge size, might have been this species. This 
is the only recent record of even its hypothetical occurrence within the 
State. So far as we can learn, the only Oregon specimen of this noble 
bird in existence is one in the Chicago Academy of Science collection that 
was taken three miles west of Portland in the Columbia River on April 

8, 1881. 

Common Canada Goose: 

Branta canadensis canadensis (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION.- "Head and neck black excepc for broad white band across throat and 
cheeks; body deep gray, feathers tipped with lighter; rump, tail, and quills black; 
upper and lower tail coverts, and ventral region, white. Length: 35-43, wing 
15.60-11.00, bill 1.55-1.70." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young when 
recently hatched is brightly colored and very pretty. The entire back, rump, wings, 
and flanks are 'yellowish olive,' with a bright, greenish-yellow sheen; a large central 
crown patch is lustrous 'olive'; the remainder of the head and neck is bright yellow- 
ish, deepening to 'olive ocher' on the cheeks and sides of the neck and paling to 
'primrose yellow* on the throat; the under parts shade from 'deep colonial buff' on 
the breast to 'primrose yellow' on the belly; the bill is entirely black." (Bent) 
Nest: Built-up mound of grass, rushes, leaves, or other vegetation, lined with down. 
Eggs: 4 to 10, usually 5 or 6, creamy white to dull white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Mackenzie, northern Quebec, and Labrador 
south to Gulf of St. Lawrence, James Bay, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, 
and northern California. Winters south to Gulf of Mexico and to southern Cali- 
fornia. In Oregon: Common permanent resident, breeding in suitable areas in eastern 
Oregon and wintering throughout State wherever open water is found. 

THERE ARE few persons who have not thrilled to the strident voices of the 
Common Canada Geese (Plate 2.1, 5), or "Honkers," as the great gray- 
breasted squadrons travel the air lanes in their annual migrations. Spring 
is in the air, and even the staid business man, who never gives the out- 
of-door world a thought at any other time, pauses to look with an 


appreciative eye as the wild music warns of the great V's of huge birds 
moving over the city. Sadly reduced in numbers, as compared to former 
years, these geese are still the greatest prize that can possibly fall to the 
gun of a wild-fowler. Townsend first reported them from Oregon in 1839, 
and ever since that time much has been written regarding their presence 

Unlike all other geese and many ducks that breed entirely outside of 
the State, this great bird still breeds in numbers in eastern Oregon, in the 
great marshy areas of Harney and Warner Valleys, in Summer Lake, 
Klamath County, and less frequently in smaller swampy areas or along 
the larger streams. We have notes on eggs and newly hatched goslings 
from Klamath, Lake, Harney, and Deschutes Counties. It also breeds in 
small numbers on an island in the Columbia River east of The Dalles, 
along the John Day River, and along the Snake River and its tributaries 
near Ontario. We have frequently seen pairs of birds along these streams 
through the summer but have not been able to approach their nests. It 
is evident, therefore, that if we are so inclined, we can do something our- 
selves to see that these wonderful wild fowl are protected and given a 
chance to perpetuate themselves within the State borders. 

The birds mate for life, and nesting begins early. The nests are bulky 
affairs of weeds, grass, or other vegetation with a slight depression in the 
center to receive the big white eggs, most of which are laid in late March 
and early April and vary in number from two to eight, usually three to 
five. Furber, who was warden for years at Lower Klamath Lake, reported 
newly hatched young on April 17, 1914, and April 2.0, 1915, and Gabriel- 
son saw newly hatched young in Klamath County on April 19, 192.4, the 
earliest dates on which young have been noted. As the period of incuba- 
tion in this species is 2.8 to 30 days, this would place the period of laying 
in mid-March. Jewett found a female sitting on seven eggs at Silver Lake, 
April 8, 1919, and blew two sets of three and five eggs respectively, taken 
at Adel, April 17, 192.7, in which incubation had just started. The latest 
date is that of Prill, who collected a set of two half-incubated eggs in 
Warner Valley on June 5, 19x2.. 

During July, the adults lose all the wing quills in the annual molt and 
are unable to fly until the new feathers grow. At this time they seek the 
thick tules and other vegetation in which to hide, although if pressed 
on open ground they are able to run with amazing speed. When both 
young and old are able to fly, the birds begin to gather into flocks that 
wander over the adjacent country, feeding in the grainfields or pastures 
and frequently doing considerable damage in the former. By September, 
the exodus from the breeding grounds begins, the first flocks appearing 
in western Oregon by mid-September and remaining until May (our 
earliest date, September 4; latest, May 2.0). Most of the birds return to 
the breeding grounds in March, only stragglers remaining later than mid- 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: family Anatidae [ 12.5 ] 

April. While in western Oregon, the species frequents the lakes on 
Government and Sauvies Islands in the Columbia River as well as the 
grainfields of the Willamette Valley. It also occurs to some extent on the 
coast, though sight records might easily be confused with the White- 
cheeked Goose, to which form at least part of the early coastal records 
undoubtedly apply. 

White-cheeked Goose: 

Branta canadensis occidentalis (Baird) 

DESCRIPTION. "Like canadensis, but under parts darker, white cheek patches usually 
separated by black on throat; lower part of neck with a more or less distinct collar." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "The central crown patch and the upper parts of the body 
are lustrous 'brownish olive,' darkest on the head and rump; the lores are washed or 
striped with the same dark color, which surrounds the eye and extends in a post- 
ocular stripe down the neck; the under parts, including the forehead and the sides of 
the head and the neck, are dull yellowish or 'colonial buff,' washed on the sides of 
the head and neck with 'honey yellow' or 'yellow ocher,' paling on the belly and 
flanks to 'ivory yellow' and deepening on the breast to 'deep colonial buff'." (Bent) 
Size: "Length 35, wing i6.i5~i8.oo, bill 1.40-1.65." (Bailey) Nest: A depression, 
lined with moss and down. Eggs: About 5, dull white, almost exactly like those of 
the Common Canada Goose. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds along Alaska coast from Prince William Sound to 
Queen Charlotte Island and British Columbia. In Oregon: Winter visitor along 
coast, straggling inland, at least occasionally, to Willamette Valley. 

THE BIG dark-colored White-cheeked Goose breeds on the coast of Alaska 
and British Columbia and remains there through the winter to a large 
extent. There are two Oregon skins in the Jewett collection the first 
taken at Netarts Bay (November 2.7, 1914), the second at McMinnville 
(November 15, 1931) that match breeding birds from the Alaska coast, 
and we have occasionally seen big, dark geese, particularly in Tillamook 
and Lincoln Counties, that most probably are this form. Every winter 
on the Oregon coast as far south as Curry County, small flocks of geese 
appear that show a decided fondness for the offshore rocks, alighting on 
them and staying well out to sea, except during severe storms. The 
gunners along the coast know them as "honkers," but all that we have 
seen or had described to us have been much too dark for canadensis and 
are most probably this subspecies. 

Lesser Canada Goose: 

Branta canadensis leucopareia (Brandt) 

DESCRIPTION. A medium-sized goose, with a light breast and underbody, bill 
shorter for its depth and feet smaller in proportion to the tarsus than in canadensis. 
Si%e: Wing 14.90-17.45, bill 1.40-1.69, tarsus 3.06. Nest and eggs: As in canadensis. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Arctic Coast from Alaska to Southampton Island. 
Winters from Washington to northern Mexico. In Oregon: Migrant and winter resi- 
dent, appearing in October and remaining until April. 


THE LESSER CANADA GOOSE, a smaller edition of the Common Canada 
Goose, has been reported in Oregon by various ornithologists, the first 
of whom was Townsend (1839). Johnson (1880), Anthony (1886), and 
Woodcock (1901) all recorded it as a common or abundant species in 
western Oregon, and Merrill (1888) listed it likewise for Klamath County. 
All of these records were for Hutchins's Goose but are now to be referred 
to the above subspecies, as in the latest revision of this puzzling group 
the name hutchinsi has been restricted to the form breeding in eastern 
Arctic America and migrating through the Mississippi Valley. This is 
the medium-sized goose of the canadensis group that migrates commonly 
through eastern Oregon. It is one of the most abundant species on the 
Columbia River near Arlington and an important part of the great goose 
flocks in Harney, Lake, and Klamath Counties (earliest date, October 16, 
Multnomah County; latest, April 19, Klamath County). Comparatively 
few geese have been killed in western Oregon in recent years, and there- 
fore its present status in that territory is somewhat doubtful, but it 
undoubtedly still occurs in small numbers among the wintering bands of 
geese there. Walker collected one at Blaine, Tillamook County, April 16, 
192.3, and Jewett, one at Netarts, December 2.9, 192.9. It usually winters 
on the Columbia River above The Dalles, feeding out over the wheatfields 
in the morning and evening and resting on the gravel bars during the day. 
One of the impressive waterfowl spectacles still left to us is the sight 
of great bands of these and other geese leaving their resting grounds on 
the river. In the early morning light, one flock leads the way, and then 
for many minutes flock after flock takes wing, rising in great circles until 
sufficient altitude is attained to cross over the bluffs to the stubble fields. 
In a short time the shrill clamor of the circling flocks dies away and the 
river is deserted. Later in the day the geese drift back, a flock at a time, 
to sit on the gravel bars preening their feathers or to float lazily in the 
slack water close inshore. In the late afternoon the process is repeated, 
the feeding birds sometimes returning long after sunset. From October 
to April it is often possible to count many thousands of these great birds 
from the Columbia Highway anywhere from The Dalles to Umatilla 
all the equipment necessary being a pair of good binoculars and the will 
to stop the car at points commanding a view of the stream. 

Cackling Goose: 

Brant a canadensis minima Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION. A small dark form of the canadensis group, very similar to B. c. occi- 
dentalis. Downy young: "Exactly like that of occidentalism (Bent) Si^e: "Length 
2.3-2.5, wing 13.60-14.50, bill .95-1.15." (Bailey) Nest: A depression, lined with 
grass and down. Eggs: 4 to 7, dull white to cream white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on coast of northwestern Alaska. Winters mainly 
in Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys of California. In Oregon: Abundant migrant 
with perhaps occasional wintering flocks. 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [ 12.7 ] 

THE CACKLING GOOSE, the smallest of the canadensis group, is an abundant 
migrant, particularly in Klamath County and the adjoining area about 
Tule Lake, California, a great goose concentration area, where at times 
it equals in numbers any other species present. Merrill (1888) listed it 
as an abundant migrant at Fort Klamath, which is the first record of it 
as an Oregon bird, and Willett (1919) reported it as a common spring 
migrant at Malheur Lake. None of the numerous men who have worked 
the State in recent years mention it. Woodcock, Anthony, and Johnson 
overlooked it entirely in western Oregon, though at present it is a regular 
migrant there and has been noted by Jewett (1914^ as wintering on 
Netarts Bay. Our earliest date is October Z4 (Washington County); our 
latest, April 30 (Jackson County). 

In addition to its small size and dark color, this species has a dis- 
tinctive high-pitched call, resembling the syllables luk-luk, many times 
repeated, that is recognized by many hunters who, in various localities, 
call it "China Goose," "Cackler," "Cack," or "Squealer." The birds 
fly swiftly and often heedlessly, frequently diving headlong into decoys 
without the precautionary circling indulged in by the larger and more 
wary geese. 

One of the most interesting papers yet published concerning this species 
and one that contains information of particular value to Oregon students 
is a report by Lincoln (i9i6b) on the banding of a great number of 
Cackling Geese on the Yukon Delta, Alaska, between July 14 and 31, 
192.4, and the record of the subsequent recapture of some of the banded 
individuals during the fall of 19x4 and spring of 192.5. (See Figure 2., 
p. 14.) Briefly, these recaptures indicate a migratory flight closely 
paralleling the coast line from the nesting grounds to the mouth of the 
Columbia River. From there the flight turns inland toward Tule Lake 
and the Sacramento Valley, which proved to be the wintering ground of 
these birds breeding in this area. Four of the banded birds were reported 
from Oregon during the first season as follows : Fort Stevens (October 18), 
Hillsboro (October 2.4), Tillamook (October 17), all in 19x4, and Evans 
Creek, Jackson County (April 30) in 192.5. 

On April 2.7, 1933, at Grays Harbor, Washington, Gabrielson watched 
a great flight of dark canadensis type geese moving northward in a con- 
stant succession of good-sized flocks. Subsequent inquiries indicated that 
this same flight passed along the Columbia River between Portland, 
Oregon, and Kelso, Washington, on April 2.6 and 17. This flight was 
undoubtedly the main body of these and possibly other geese moving 
northward from Tule Lake, where this species finds a regular stopping 
point in both the spring and fall migrations, and where some of these 
geese winter, unless the water freezes solid, undoubtedly spreading out 
at times into the adjoining areas. It is strange that we have not detected 
this form at Arlington, where the Lesser Canada Goose is the chief species 


present. Neither of us has hunted in this area, but we have examined 
numerous geese killed there without finding a single ' 'Cackler. ' ' At present 
we know it chiefly as a western Oregon bird that, curiously enough, is 
most abundant in the State in the Klamath area on the east side of the 

Black Brant: 

Brant a nigricans (Lawrence) 

DESCRIPTION.- "Adults: Head entirely black, neck almost encircled by a broad white 
collar open behind; upper parts dark sooty brown; breast black, shading to dark 
slaty; anal region white. Young: white collar indistinct or wanting; larger wing 
coverts and secondaries broadly tipped with white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The 
downy young black brant is thickly covered with soft down in dark colors; the 
upper half of the head, including the lores, to a point a little below the eyes is 
'fuscous' or 'benzo brown'; the chin is white; the back varies from 'benzo brown' to 
'hair brown,' darkest on the rump; the flanks and chest shade from 'hair brown' to 
'light drab,' fading off nearly to white on the belly and throat." (Bent) Si^e: 
"Length ii-z^, wing 12.. 70-13. 50, bill 1.2.0-1.35." (Bailey) Nest: A depression in 
the moss and grass of the tundra, lined with down. Eggs: 4 to 8, buff to cream. 
DISTRIBUTION. Genet al: Breeds on Arctic Coast and Islands of Siberia and Alaska to 
Coronation Gulf. Winters on Pacific Coast from Vancouver to Lower California. 
In Oregon: Common winter resident of coast. Appears inland as a straggler, if at all. 

THERE HAS BEEN a great deal of confusion in the minds of early observers 
as to the Black Brant on the inland waters of Oregon. Bendire (1877) 
reported it as an uncommon migrant seen several times in the hands of 
the Indians; Mearns (1879) recorded it from Fort Klamath on the author- 
ity of Dr. Henry McElderry, the post surgeon; Anthony (1886) considered 
it as occasional in spring and fall in Washington County; and Woodcock 
(1902.) listed it as found inland at Dayton, Scio, and Elkton, on the 
authority of various observers; but so far as we can find, not one of these 
records is supported by a specimen. It is possible, of course, that in the 
earlier days of more water and a greater flight of waterfowl this maritime 
species did occasionally drift inland. Yet the confusion that exists 
throughout the country in inland records of the Black Brant leads us to 
seek another explanation. 

The Little Cackling Goose (Branta minima), smallest and darkest mem- 
ber of the canadensis group, was not recognized as distinct until Ridgway 
described it in 1885. Inasmuch as it is much darker and quite distinct 
from either of the other two representatives of the group found inland, 
it is quite possible that these early records refer to that dark race rather 
than to the present species. This theory seems strengthened by the fact 
that Merrill in 1888 reported B. c. minima as a common species at Fort 
Klamath but made no mention of B. nigricans. However this may be, the 
facts today are that the Little Cackling Goose is still a common bird 
inland, whereas the Black Brant, known also as "China Goose," is 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [ 12.9 ] 

strictly a maritime species that remains on the ocean and the salt-water 

The Black Brant, a late migrant, seldom appears in numbers on the 
Oregon coast until December or January. From then on, its numbers 
increase up to the time of its departure for the north in April. Our earliest 
record is November 15 (Tillamook County); latest, May 2. (Coos County). 
During its stay it remains at sea or in the bays that contain an abundance 
of eelgrass (Zostera marina), which makes up a large percentage of its diet. 
Yaquina, Netarts, and Tillamook are the favorite bays with the Black 
Brant, so far as our personal experience goes, and in the late winter great 
rafts of these geese can be seen congregated about the eelgrass patches in 
those waters. 

Emperor Goose: 

Philacte canagica (Sevastianoff) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill small and not much elevated at base, mainly light colored, 
bluish or pinkish white above; pit of nostrils reaching feathers of forehead; feet 
orange. Adults: head and back of neck white or stained with rusty orange; chin and 
throat dusky or brownish black; rest of plumage, except white tail, bluish gray, each 
feather with a black bar and white tip. Young: similar to adult, but whole head 
dusky, specked with white on top." (Bailey) Downy young: "Mr. Blaauw (1916) 
says: The chick in down is of a beautiful pearl-gray, darkest on the head and upper 
side and lighter below. The legs and bill are black.' A larger downy young, about 
the size of a teal, in the United States National Museum, has probably faded some; 
the upper parts vary in color from 'bister' to 'buffy brown' and the under parts from 
'smoke gray' to 'olive buff'." (Bent) Si^e: Length 2.6, wing 14.30-15.75, bill 1.40- 
1.65." (Bailey) Nest: On the ground. Eggs: About 5, white with fine pale-brown 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on northwest coast of Alaska. Winters primarily in 
Aleutian Islands, straggling southward to California. In Oregon: More or less regular 
straggler to coast and inland points between October and mid-February. 

THE BEAUTIFULLY marked Emperor Goose, the most striking of all the 
species that visit the State, was first found by Alex Walker, who took a 
specimen on December 31, 192.0, at Netarts Bay. The second specimen was 
reported by Steele (192.4) as taken near Eugene, October 7, 192.3. Jewett 
has the third, which was obtained by C. E. Edner near Netarts on Decem- 
ber 3, 19^3. Since that time there have been a number of specimens from 
Lane, Lincoln, Multnomah, and Tillamook Counties. It has also been 
taken frequently in the Sacramento Valley and at Tule Lake. The number 
that drift south to Oregon seems to be increasing in recent years, at least 
more of them are being reported (earliest date, October 3 ; latest, February 
17). The Emperor Geese usually arrive here as single birds mingling with 
other species or in small bands of three to six. The general bluish color 
and whitish head distinguish them from other geese, and they are con- 
sequently quickly noticed by any one who happens to kill one. 


White-fronted Goose; Speckle Breast; Gray Goose: 

Anser albifrons albifrons (Scopoli) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill comparatively low at base, yellow or orange; feet orange or 
reddish. Adults: face white, bordered with dusky; rest of head and neck, also 
shoulders and chest, dark gray; belly and sides black or spotted with black, becoming 
white posteriorly and on under tail coverts; back dusky gray. Young: without 
white face or black on belly." (Bailey) Downy young: "The colors of the upper 
parts, including the central crown, back, wings, rump, and flanks, vary from 'buffy 
olive' to 'ecru olive,' darkest on the crown and rump and palest on the upper back, 
with a yellowish sheen; there is a faint loral and postocular stripe of olive; on the 
remainder of the head and neck the colors shade from 'olive ocher' on the forehead, 
cheeks, and neck to 'colonial buff' on the throat; the colors on the under parts shade 
from 'mustard yellow' on the breast to 'citron yellow' on the belly." (Bent) Si%e: 
Length 17, wing 14.15-17.50, bill 1.80-1.35. (Bailey) Nest: A shallow depression, 
lined with grass, feathers, and down. Eggs: 4 to 7, light buff to pale pinkish white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Yukon Valley east to Anderson River and also 
in Greenland, Iceland, and Siberia. Winters in United States from southern British 
Columbia and southern Illinois south to the Gulf and central Mexico. In Oregon: 
Common migrant and less abundant winter resident that arrives in September and 
remains until late April. 

THE FIRST RECORDED occurrence of the White-fronted Goose in Oregon is 
Lewis and Clark's note (1814) that a few wintered in 1805-06 at the 
mouth of the Columbia. Newberry (1857), Kerry (1874), an d Woodcock 
(1901) are among those who reported it as a wintering species within the 
State. It formerly remained in numbers in the Willamette Valley through 
the winter; but in recent years it has decreased and at present stays 
sporadically in small numbers during that season in the Willamette Val- 
ley and along the Columbia River near Portland. It is most abundant in 
October, November, March, and April (earliest date, September 2., Mult- 
nomah County; latest, May 18, Klamath County). It is now apparently 
rare on the coast, the only recent record being that of Alex Walker, who 
collected one in Tillamook County, September 15, 192.1. 

Most of the published records of this species refer to migrant birds in 
the four months mentioned above, although Merrill (1888) stated thatio 
birds remained at Fort Klamath until June 3, 1887. Perhaps no better 
evidence of the former abundance of these and other waterfowl can be 
given than to quote Merrill's statement regarding the flight: 

Very common in April, the main flight occurring between the zoth and the 3oth, and many 
flocks stopping to feed in the grassy meadows bordering the marsh. The upper part of the 
valley is enclosed on the west and north by the main divide of the Cascade Mountains, and 
on the east by a spur from the same range, all averaging a height of over 6,500 feet. On 
stormy days, if the wind was not blowing from the south, Geese flying low up the valley had 
great difficulty in rising sufficiently to cross the abrupt divide, and most of them would 
return to the marsh and its vicinity to wait for a more favorable opportunity. At such times 
Geese of this and the next species [Canada Geese] gathered by thousands and afforded great 
sport. The immense numbers of these birds that migrate through Western Oregon cannot be 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [131] 

appreciated until one has seen their spring flight, which, I am informed, extends in width 
from the coast inland about two hundred and fifty or three hundred miles. About fifty of 
this species were seen on the Marsh on May 2.3, and twenty on May 2.7 and June 3, after 
which none were observed; their remaining so late excited general remark among the settlers. 

The Speckle Breast, or Gray Goose, is ardently sought by hunters of 
wild fowl, many of whom will let a shot at Snow or Cackling Geese pass 
if there is a possibility of a flock of "Specks" approaching their shooting 
blinds. These geese are usually fat while in Oregon and are ranked next 
to the Canada Goose, by discriminating hunters. 

Lesser Snow Goose: 

Chen hyferborea hyperborea (Pallas) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: A conspicuous hard, black plate along side of lower man- 
dible; plumage pure white except for wing, which has black tip and gray patch; 
white of head and sometimes neck and breast washed or stained with rusty orange." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "In the small downy young snow goose, recently hatched, 
the color of the head shades from 'olive buff' above to 'pale olive buff' below, 
suffused with 'colonial buff' or pale yellow on the throat, forehead, and cheeks; the 
down on the back is quite glossy and appears 'hair brown,' 'light drab,' or 'light 
grayish olive' in different lights; the under parts are 'pale olive buff,' suffused on the 
breast and sides with pale yellow shades." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 2.3-2.8, wing 
14.50-17.00, bill 1.95-1.30." (Bailey) Nest: A depression in the ground, lined with 
down. Eggs: 5 to 7, dull white or creamy white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Arctic Coast and islands to north. Winters from 
Mississippi Valley west and British Columbia south into Mexico. In Oregon: 
Migrant only, most abundant in October and November and again in March and 

THE LESSER SNOW GOOSE is most abundant in Oregon east of the Cascades, 
but it appears also in numbers in the Willamette Valley and less commonly 
on the coast. It is not particularly sought by hunters in Oregon, as the 
meat is dark and the birds are usually thin when they arrive. Lewis and 
Clark (1814) first recorded it for the State, their expedition having found 
it at the mouth of the Columbia on January z, 1806, and it has been 
noticed by practically every working ornithologist since. Johnson (1880) 
reported it as a common migrant in the Willamette Valley, and Woodcock 
(1902.) as a rare migrant at Dayton. 

Great flocks of these White, or Snow, Geese are familiar sights in 
eastern Oregon, where they are particularly abundant in Klamath, Lake, 
and Harney Counties. On the coast, several specimens are available from 
Tillamook and Lincoln Counties, and the birds are seen each season in 
those and other coastal counties. The main concentration areas in Oregon 
are Malheur, Warner, Abert, and Summer Lakes; and in California, Tule 
Lake (just across the State line). Our earliest fall date is October 17 
(Multnomah County), but Dr. Hibbard has reported their arrival at 


Burns as early as September 2.7; and our latest fall record is December 10 
(Klamath County). Our earliest spring date is February 10 (Klamath 
County); our latest, April 2.7 (Multnomah County). 

With the advent of freezing weather, if not before, the snowy clans 
move south into California, a few perhaps occasionally remaining in 
Oregon through the winter. Our latest fall date of December 10 and our 
earliest spring date of February 10 leave a comparatively short interval 
during which the birds might easily remain through mild winters. They 
winter in small numbers about Netarts, Tillamook, and Coos Bays and 
are also occasionally seen in migration over the Willamette Valley, 
seldom having stopped there in recent years. Jewett saw them on Gov- 
ernment Island in April 1902., and Gabrielson several times noted them 
in the same month flying over his home east of Portland. 

Ross's Goose: 

Chen rossi (Cassin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Base of upper mandible often rough and warty; bill com- 
paratively small and without black stripe along side; plumage as in hyperborea." 
(Bailey) Downy young [from birds raised in captivity]: "Mr. Blaauw (1903) de- 
scribes the downy young as follows: 'The chicks are of a yellowish gray, darker on 
the upper side and lighter below, and have, what makes them most conspicuously 
beautiful, bright canary-yellow heads, with the most delicate grayish sheen over 
them, caused by the extremity of the longer down hairs being of that color. The bill 
is black, with a flesh-colored tip. A little spot in front of each eye is also blackish. 
The legs are olive green.' " (Bent) Size: "Length zo-z6, wing 13.75-15.50, bill 
1.50-1.70." (Bailey) Nesf: Unknown. Eggs: Number unknown, those laid by 
captive birds 3 to 5, pure white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeding range unknown. Winters in Sacramento and San 
Joaquin Valleys. In Oregon: Known only as rare straggler. 

Ross's GOOSE, which is easily distinguished from the Lesser Snow Goose 
by its small size and the roughened warty area at the base of the bill, is 
listed in this State on the basis of two specimens. The first was reported 
by Bendire (1877), as follows: 

A single specimen obtained on Silvies River, Oregon, April iz, 1876. It appears to be a rare 
species, was shot out of a flock of twelve by Sergt. Kennedy of my company, and is now in 
the collection of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Mass. 

The second, from Adel, Lake County, was killed November 6, 192.1, by 
Mr. W. S. Wyble, of that place, and presented to Jewett. It is evident 
that Oregon lies to the west of the main flight line of this little goose. It 
stops regularly at Great Falls, Montana, and winters in the northern 
Sacramento Valley, most of the records of its occurrence being in a direct 
line between these two points. 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [133] 

Common Mallard: 

Anas flatyrhynchos platyrhynchos (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Male in winter and breeding plumage: Four of the black upper tail 
coverts recurved; head and neck, down to white collar, rich iridescent green; chest 
dark chestnut brown; belly and sides gray; wing with iridescent violet green spec- 
ulum bordered by black and white bars; rump and upper and lower tail coverts black. 
Male in summer plumage: Like female. Female and immature: Entire plumage variously 
mottled, scalloped, and streaked with dusky and buff, except for plain buffy chin and 
white under surface of wing; buff predominating on belly; wing as in male." (Bailey) 
Downy young: "The downy young mallard when first hatched, is richly colored; the 
upper parts, the crown and back, are 'sepia* or 'clove brown,' darkest on the crown; 
the under parts, including the sides of the head and a broad superciliary stripe, are 
'napthalene yellow' more or less clouded, especially on the cheeks with 'honey 
yellow' or intermediate shades; there is a loral and postocular stripe and an auricular 
spot of 'clove brown'; four yellowish spots, two on the scapulars and two on the 
rump, relieve the color of the back." (Bent) Si^e: "Length 10-15, wing 10.15-11.00, 
bill 1.00-1.40." (Bailey) Nest: Usually on the ground near the edge of a slough or 
lake but occasionally at least in the timber some distance from the water; sometimes 
in trees, usually in a huge old crotch near the ground; generally well lined with 
down. Eggs: 8 to 11, occasionally more, greenish buff to nearly white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: In North America south to Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, 
New Mexico, and Lower California. Winters over practically entire continent. In 
Oregon: Permanent resident over entire State. 

OF ALL the waterfowl native to North America, the Common Mallard 
(Plate 2.2., A), or "Greenhead," is undoubtedly our best known and most 
desirable game bird. Found over the entire northern hemisphere, it is 
universally distributed in North America from the Arctic southward to 
Virginia and Missouri during the breeding season, and over the entire 
continent where there is open water during the winter months. It is an 
exceedingly adaptable bird, accommodating itself to conditions found in 
almost any territory, so long as there is some water present. It breeds in 
tiny pot holes and swamps in the Mississippi Valley, in and about the 
great tule marshes of eastern Oregon, and along streams anywhere in the 
State. It has been recorded by practically every worker in our territory 
since Lewis and Clark (1814) noted it January i, 1806, at the mouth of 
the Columbia. 

In the eastern part of the State, as a usual thing, the Common Mallard 
builds an orthodox and regulation mallard nest on the ground, usually 
quite close to water, and lines the nest and covers the eggs carefully with 
the soft fluffy down from the female's breast. Egg dates vary from May 6 
to June 10. In western Oregon, it accommodates itself to the timbered 
conditions and often builds its nest at the base of a huge tree, or even in 
the big crotch of an old Oregon maple, up to 10 or 12. feet from the ground. 
Despite this most unducklike behavior the mallard thrives under almost 
all conditions. During the summer, one is likely to run across a female 
with her little fleet of ducklings on any body of water, and in the winter, 



Plate zz, A. Mallard drake. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

Plate 2.x, B. Baldpate. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [135] 

wherever open water prevails, either from warm springs or from swiftly 
running water that prevents freezing. They often winter in numbers 
along the little willow-bordered streams of the eastern part of the State 
and can also be found on the streams in western Oregon, many of which 
are mere silvery threads through heavily timbered country. 

One of the greatest game birds wise, wary of decoys as a usual thing, 
unless on baited ground, swift of wing, and quick to take alarm the 
mallard is the peer of any bird that flies. It can leap from the water 
straight into the air and get under way with a swiftness that entirely 
belies its weight. Despite the fact that it is usually picked by gunners 
to the exclusion of many other birds, its wariness and adaptability have 
enabled it to hold its own as well as any other species of waterfowl, and 
it is still one of the most abundant ducks. Whether it is the soft nasal 
quank of the male or the vigorous quack, quack of the female, its voice is 
better known and brings a greater thrill to wild-fowl hunters than the 
voice of any other duck. 

A shallow-water feeder by preference, it gains most of its food by 
tipping up so that only the tail and feet project above the water, with its 
broad heavy bill scooping vegetable matter from the bottom. It makes 
a most excellent table bird, as it feeds almost entirely on vegetable matter, 
its food consisting of grain, which it has learned to glean expertly from 
wheatfields, and seeds, leaves, bulbs, bulblets, and roots of a great variety 
of water plants. The seeds and bulblets of various sedges and the seeds of 
pondweeds (Potamogeton) are particularly favored in Oregon. Insects also 
are taken but usually to a minor degree. Examination of many stomachs 
from various parts of the State indicates a very decided preference for seeds 
and other parts of aquatic plants. 


Chaulelasmus streferus (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: top of head with wide low crest; head and body gray, 
crossed with wavy lines of black and white; rump and upper and lower tail coverts 
black; wing marked with black, white, and bright brown; belly white. Post- 
breeding plumage: duller and more spotted below. Adult female: head without crest; 
head and neck finely specked with dusky on a buffy or whitish ground; chin and 
belly white; rest of body with feathers dusky, bordered with buff." (Bailey) 
Downy young: "The downy young of the gad wall is very much like that of the 
mallard, except that it is decidedly paler and less richly colored; the pale yellow of 
the under parts is more extensive on the sides and head extending nearly around the 
neck where it is separated by a narrow dark stripe on the nape, the light superciliary 
stripe is broader; the dark loral and postocular stripe is narrower and the auricular 
spot is hardly noticeable. The upper parts are 'bister,' deepening on the crown to 
'bone brown'; the under parts are 'cartridge buff,' paler on the belly and deepening 
to 'cream buff' or 'Naples yellow' on the neck and sides of the head; the light 
patches on the scapulars and sides of the rump are buffy white." (Bent) Si%e: Male, 


length 19.2.5-2.1.75, wing io.x5~n.oo, bill 1.60-1.75. female, length 18, wing 
10.00-10.15, bill 1.55-1.65." (Bailey) Nest: On the ground, well lined with dried 
vegetation and down. Eggs: 7 to 13, usually 10 to 12., dull creamy white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: In North America breeds from Hudson Bay west to Alberta 
and northern Saskatchewan south through Washington and Oregon to southern 
California, New Mexico, Kansas, northern Iowa, and Wisconsin. Winters west to 
Pacific Coast, east to Atlantic, and south to Mexico. In Oregon: Breeds commonly in 
the big tule marshes of Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties. Winters somewhat 
sparingly on Snake River and other open waters of eastern Oregon, and on coast in 
limited numbers. 

ALTHOUGH THE GADWALL, or Gray Duck, as it is known locally in many 
places, is one of the most inconspicuously colored ducks, its wonderful 
feather patterns and soft gray tints make it a very beautiful bird in the 
hand. Bendire (1877) fi rst recorded it for Oregon from Malheur Lake, 
where he found it breeding abundantly, and Merrill (1888) considered it 
not common at Fort Klamath. It is still a common breeding bird in the 
great tule marshes of eastern Oregon, particularly in Malheur, Harney, 
and Lake Counties. It also appears regularly in the Willamette Valley 
and on the coast in small numbers, where it can be found occasionally in 
the winter months. 

The nest is a shallow hollow in the ground, lined with bits of weeds, 
sticks, grass, or any other vegetable debris that may be available, together 
with down from the breast of the female bird, and concealed as best it 
may be in the grass, tules, and other vegetation. The eggs are usually 
deposited in May (May 13) or June (June i), together with those of the 
other nesting species of ducks, and the young are able to swim as soon 
as hatched. 

The Gadwall, like the other species of ducks that generally nest in this 
territory, has a flightless season during the time the quill feathers are 
growing out after having been shed. It is one of nature's curious facts 
that ducks, among the speediest of all birds in the air, should have a 
period of 6 weeks to i months in which they lose entirely the power of 
flight. During this time they live in the tules and other vegetation, 
employing remarkable powers of concealing themselves and escaping 
observation by swimming under water. Following the nesting season, 
they disperse from the nesting grounds in little flocks, either composed 
entirely of Gadwalls or mixed with other species. It is a comparatively 
common sight to see a flock of several dozen Cinnamon Teal with two 
or three Gadwalls conspicuous in the group because of their larger size. 

Despite its abundance in Oregon the Gadwall is one of the least known 
ducks to the average sportsman and gunner. Gunners in western Oregon 
do not know it at all, and we frequently receive specimens from them for 
identification. This may be accounted for by the facts that Gadwalls are 
often confused with the females and young of Pintail or Sprig ducks and 
that they are one of the earliest ducks to leave their nesting grounds and 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [137] 

go south. There need be no confusion if the following distinctions are 
kept in mind: In the Pintail, the color patch on the wing, or speculum, 
is a bright green, whereas in the Gadwall it is snow white. The only 
other species of duck with a white speculum commonly found in Oregon 
is the Baldpate, or Widgeon, which might be confused with the Gadwall 
on this account. Both birds are about the same size and have about the 
same habits of flight, but the male Baldpate has a white crown and 
greenish sides to the head and fine speckling and dotting of the plumage. 
It is also more reddish on the back and lacks the beautiful gray and white 
pattern found on the neck and breast of the Gadwall. 

Like the Common Mallard, the Gadwall is a lover of the shallows, 
where it also feeds by the tipping-up process, during which the heavy 
bill is vigorously engaged in sifting edible morsels from the debris on the 
bottom and gathering succulent bulblets or roots of water plants. These 
bottom-feeding ducks are all equipped with strainers on the side of the 
bill through which the mud of the bottom may be forced out and in 
which the seeds, bulblets, and other vegetable matter on which they feed 
may be retained. Foliage of many kinds of aquatic plants, small snails, 
seeds of many kinds, grain, acorns, and other vegetable matter make up 
their food supply. Numerous stomachs taken in Oregon and examined 
by the Biological Survey reveal a great preponderance of leaves, stems, 
and seeds of aquatic plants, such as pondweeds (J?otamogeton), parrot- 
feathers (Myrio-phyllum)., sedges, and smaller plants. 

European Widgeon: 

Mareca penelope (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Bill blue with black tip; crown white or creamy; rest 
of head and neck rich russet brown, more or less specked with black; chest light 
vinaceous brown; back, rump, and sides gray crossed by fine wavy black and white 
lines; wing with green speculum framed in black, and bordered above by large white 
patch; under, and sides of upper, tail coverts, black. Adult female: head and neck 
thickly specked all over with dusky on buff; breast, sides, and back mottled with 
dusky and buff; speculum grayish, bordered above and below by narrow white tips 
to feathers. Young male: head and neck brown, thickly specked with black; breast 
and sides dull brown, back mottled dusky and brown. Length: 18-2.0, wing 10-11, 
bill 1.35-1.45." (Bailey) 

DISTRIBUTION. Breeds entirely in Old World and appears on this continent only as 
irregular straggler. 

THE EUROPEAN WIDGEON is a straggler in Oregon, as it is in other parts 
of North America. There are a number of records of it for the State. One, 
taken in Lane County, December 17, 192.6, was seen by Jewett in a taxi- 
dermist's shop in Eugene. Three were obtained in Multnomah County: 
one on Government Island, January 18, 1903, and two on Sauvies Island 
December X2_, 1918, and December 12., 19x6. Alex Walker (1913) reported 


taking one on Netarts Bay, November 2.2., 192.2.. One bird was reported 
on several occasions on the little lake in Eastmoreland Golf Course at 
Portland during the winter, where Gabrielson saw it on December 2.7, 
1931. It is possible that this species is more common than our records 
indicate, as it is only the most observant gunners who pick out these 
strange-looking birds. 

Gunners should be on the watch for this rare bird. It can be distin- 
guished from the American Widgeon, or Baldpate, as it is more commonly 
known on the west coast, by the russet-brown sides of the head of the 
male in contrast to the white crown and green sides of the American bird. 
Females are more difficult to distinguish but may be told by the fact that 
in the American bird the background is white, heavily streaked with a 
gray or grayish-brown color, whereas in the female of the European bird 
the streaking is on a buff background. 


Mareca americana (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. " 'Adult male : Bill blue with black tip; crown white, bordered on sides 
and back with wide patch of metallic green; rest of head and neck finely specked 
with dusky over buffy; chest and sides grayish lavender or vinaceous, often barred 
and specked with dusky, belly white; back dark gray crossed with wavy lines of 
black, white, and lavender; speculum green, framed in velvety black; bordered above 
by large white patch; lower, and sides of upper, tail coverts, black. Adult female: 
head and neck finely specked with dusky on whitish ground, the dusky predom- 
inating on top of head; chest, sides, and back dull brown, mottled with blackish; 
belly white; wing with dull-black speculum bordered above and below by white." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "Above dark olive-brown, relieved by a spot of greenish 
buff on posterior border of each wing, one on each side of back, and one on each side 
of rump; top of head and hind-neck, dark olive, like back; rest of head and neck, 
with lower parts, pale olive-buff or fulvous, the side of the head with a dusky 
streak, extending from bill, through eye, to occiput." (Ridgway 1887) Si%s: 
"Length i8-xx, wing 10.15-11.00, bill 1.30-1.50." (Bailey) Nest: Much like that 
of Gadwall, a slight depression in the ground, thickly lined with down. Eggs: 6 to 
12., usually 9 to n, pure creamy white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in northwestern America from Alaska to Hudson 
Bay, south to northern California, Nevada, and Utah. Winters from northern States 
southward to Central America. In Oregon: Rather uncommon breeding species in 
eastern Oregon, being most abundant at Malheur. Common fall and spring migrant 
in eastern Oregon, with some scattered winter records in Klamath, Malheur, and 
Lake Counties. Abundant migrant and winter resident on coast and in Willamette 

ALTHOUGH IT is a breeding bird in eastern Oregon, the Baldpate, or 
American Widgeon (Plate 2.2., B), is best known to Oregonians as a 
spring and fall migrant throughout the State and as an abundant winter- 
ing species on the coast and in the valleys of coastal streams, where it 
congregates in huge flocks, occasionally doing some damage in grain- 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [ 139 ] 

fields or to newly seeded crops and to pastures, both by puddling the wet 
soil and by destroying the young vegetation. This has been particularly 
noticeable around Tillamook Bay, where the species at times becomes 
exceedingly abundant. 

In eastern Oregon, it nests on Malheur Lake and possibly in other 
areas. Bendire (1877) first listed it as a breeding bird in Oregon when he 
was stationed in the Malheur Lake country in the seventies, and nests 
have occasionally been reported there since, notably by Cantwell when 
he was reservation warden at Malheur. He also reported it as nesting in 
Cold Springs Reservoir. It is most common in the great fall flights that 
appear on the coast from early October on, depending somewhat on the 
season. Our earliest date of arrival in the coast country is August 18, 
but as a usual thing it is well into October before numbers are present. 
It remains until mid-March, our latest date being April 2.4. 

The Baldpate is a handsome bird with ruddy plumage checked with 
black lines, conspicuous white and green wings, and a head bordered with 
shiny green on the sides. Its call is a softly whistled whetnv repeated three 
times, somewhat similar to that of the Green-winged Teal. It is very 
swift of wing and behaves much like the teal. The wings, in flight, make 
a characteristic whistling sound that gunners soon learn to recognize. As 
a usual thing Baldpates are good table birds, but occasionally on the 
coastal lakes and bays the flesh becomes tainted or strong from some food 
that they get in abundance there. 

Food of the Baldpate in Oregon is somewhat like that of other shallow- 
water ducks. The greater proportion of it is vegetable matter, composed 
largely of the seeds of water plants. Among the favorites found in 
stomachs taken at Klamath Falls are seeds of parrotfeather (M.yriopkyllum), 
pond weeds {Po tamo get on), smart weed (Polygonum amphibium), and sedges 
{Zannichellia palustris and Scirpus americanus). A few water insects and 
remains of various kinds of snails and other small mollusks constitute most 
of the animal matter. The stomach of a bird taken on the Columbia 
River contained z,8oo seeds of a grass (Eragrostis hypnoides), 1,2.00 seeds 
of another grass (Panicum), and 750 seeds of a sedge (Eleockaris*), which 
constituted 93 per cent of the stomach contents. The balance consisted 
of seeds of the buttercup (Ranunculus), and 80 seeds of the smartweed 
(Polygonum lapatbifolium). 

American Pintail: 

Dafila acuta t%it%ihoa (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION.- "A large duck, with long neck and long, sharp tail of 16 feathers; 
head not crested. Adult male: sides of head snuff brown, with a purple gloss; crown 
darker, back of neck blackish, a white stripe down side of neck; throat and under 
parts white; sides and upper parts gray crossed by wavy lines; wing slaty, with 


purple speculum bordered above by a line of buff, and below by white; tertials with 
broad stripes of velvety black and white; under tail coverts black. Adult female : 
gray, with head and neck finely specked, and under parts, including under surface of 
wing, finely mottled with dusky; back and wings more heavily mottled with black, 
brown, and buffy; wing without speculum, but greater coverts tipped with white." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young is grayer and browner than other young 
surface-feeding ducks and thus easily recognized. The crown is dark, rich 'clove 
brown'; a broad superciliary stripe of grayish white extends from the lores to the 
occiput; below this the side of the head is mainly grayish white, fading to pure 
white on the throat and chin, with a narrow postocular stripe of 'clove brown' and 
a paler and broader stripe of the same below it. The back is 'clove brown' darkest 
on the rump, with grayish or buffy tips on the down of the upper back; the rump and 
scapular spots are white, the latter sometimes elongated into stripes. The lower 
parts are grayish white, palest in the center. The chest, and sometimes the sides of 
the head, are suffused with pinkish buff, but never with yellow. The colors become 
duller and paler as the bird grows older." (Bent) Si%e: "Male, length 2.6-30, wing 
10. 2.5-11. zo, bill 1.851.15, tail 7.159.50. Female, smaller, length 11.00-13.50, 
wing 9.60-10.10, bill i. 80, tail 4.50-5.00." (Bailey) Nest: Very similar to that of 
other ducks, a depression in the ground, lined with grass and feathers (Plate 13, A). 
Eggs: 6 to n, pale greenish to olive buff, well covered with down as incubation 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Found throughout most of northern hemisphere. In North 
America, breeds from Hudson Bay west to Pacific and south to Wisconsin, Iowa, 
Nebraska, Colorado, and southern California. In Oregon: Breeds regularly in eastern 
Oregon, abundant particularly in Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties. Found 
throughout year. 

THE SLIM, ELEGANT silhouettes of the American Pintails (Plate 2.3) are 
familiar figures of the air lanes wherever wild ducks congregate in Oregon. 
The long necks and elongated tail feathers of the males combine to form 
a distinctive outline that makes identification of the species possible at a 
distance. Added to this trimness of build are the soft grays, whites, and 
blacks in an intricate pattern delicately traced against contrasting back- 
ground that make this one of the most beautiful ducks, though many are 
more brilliantly colored. Seen on the water, it has an elegance of car- 
riage and movement lacking in many waterfowl comparable to the 
aristocratic lines and actions of a thoroughbred horse. It is hardy, alert, 
and shy, and because of its wide breeding range it has withstood the 
vicissitudes of agricultural development, drought, and overshooting 
better than any species, except the Common Mallard. It ranks next to 
the Common Mallard in importance as a game bird in the eyes of many 

First recorded for Oregon by Townsend (1839) and noted by numerous 
observers since, it is one of the most abundant ducks found in the State. 
We have records for practically every county. Wherever there are suitable 
feeding grounds and open water in eastern Oregon a few will be found, 
and it is one of the first migrants to appear with the break-up of the ice 
in the frost-bound portions of the State. In eastern Oregon, most of the 
spring migrants arrive in March to remain until freezing weather in the 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [ 141 ] 

Plate 13, A. Female American Pintail on nest. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. 

Plate 13, B. American Pintail drake. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 


fall, usually in November. It winters as far north as weather permits. It 
has been an abundant breeding species in the great alkaline marshes of 
southeastern Oregon and is still a regular nesting species in the remnants 
of those marshes. 

It builds its nest beneath some small shrub or grassy tuft and deposits 
its 6 to 10 eggs. The female often sits exceedingly close, allowing an 
intruder to all but step on her before taking alarm. Typical nesting data 
are as follows: "Sycan Marsh, June 12., 192.7, nest with seven eggs under 
a sage brush 300 yards from water" (Jewett); "Warner Lakes, May 2.1, 
1932., nest with three eggs" (Jewett); "May 14, 1919, Round Lake, 
Klamath County, nest with six eggs" (Gabrielson); "June 16, 192.6, 
several broods of young seen on Island Ranch, Harney County" (Gabriel- 
son); "June 13, 192.6, parents and young near Midland, Klamath County" 

As soon as the young are able to fly, there is a marked movement 
among these ducks, and great bands appear on the high mountain lakes 
in early August (Minam Lake, Wallowa County, August 2.0, 19x3 ; Kinney 
Lake, Wallowa County, August 2.1, 1930; and Diamond Lake, Douglas 
County, several August dates, Gabrielson). This dispersion of local ducks 
apparently coincides with or slightly precedes the first flight of northern 
birds, which is composed largely of this species. At least by mid-August, 
Pintails have become common birds, not only in the great breeding 
marshes and the mountain lakes, but on the bays and inlets on the coast. 

The American Pintail feeds by tipping up, and it is an amusing spectacle 
to watch a group of them standing on their heads in shallow water, with 
the sharp tails pointing straight toward the zenith as they work the 
bottoms with their bills, searching out the seeds and tubers of the aquatic 
plants that furnish the bulk of their food. 

A series of 14 stomachs collected in September, October, November, 
and December, at Klamath Falls, were filled mainly with seeds of Hippuris 
vulgaris, Myriophyllum, Polygpnum amphibium and P. aviculare, Scirpus ameri- 
canus , Potanwgeton sp., Eleocharis sp., Ranunculus sp., Cicuta sp., Portulaca, 
Menyanthes trifoliata, Amaranthus sp., Zannichellia palustris, Ruppia mari- 
tima, Naias flexilis, and vegetative parts of the duckweed (Lemna), algae, 
Chara and Potamogeton. The animal matter consisted of fragments of 
various mollusks, crustaceans, beetles, and a variety of water insects, 
chiefly important as showing that such food is entirely acceptable. Only 
one stomach contained more than fragments of animal matter. It was 
filled with small mollusks, including 2.60 Pisidium occidental, 19 Pompholyx 
effusa, 700 Planorbis parvus, 2. Fluminicola Nuffaliana, and fragments of 
Valvata vinus. In addition to this animal food, a few fragments of seeds 
of several plants had been taken, surely a full meal. 

From west of the Cascades, one stomach from Sauvies Island and five 
from Netarts Bay were examined and found to be entirely or largely filled 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [143] 

with animal matter. The Sauvies Island stomach was one-third filled with 
wheat, the balance of the food consisting of crane-fly and chironomid 
larvae, small crustaceans, snails, and dragonfly nymphs. The Netarts 
birds had taken snails and other mollusks as their main article of food, 
although one had fed heavily on eelgrass and another on clover (Trifolium 
sp.) and sedge (Scirpus) seeds. Caddisfly larvae also had been taken. 

Green-winged Teal: 

Nettion carolinense (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. " Adult male: Head light chestnut, forehead and chin blackish; a wide 
crescent of green and black inclosing eye and reaching to base of crest; breast buffy, 
spotted with black; back gray, shoulders crossed by white bar; shoulders and sides 
finely cross-lined with black and white; wing with green and black speculum, 
bordered above by buff and below by white; under tail coverts black, bordered by 
rich buff. Adult female: back, sides, and breast dusky, scalloped and mottled with 
buff; throat and belly whitish; base of wing slaty; wing with speculum as in male. 
Young male: belly white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The upper parts are 'mummy 
brown' or 'Prout's brown,' darkest on the crown and rump; the under parts shade 
from 'buckthorn brown' or 'clay color,' on the side of the head and throat, to 
'cinnamon buff' or 'light buff,' on the breast and belly; the side of the head is dis- 
tinctly marked by a broad loral and postocular stripe of dark brown and a similar 
auricular stripe below it, from the eye to the occiput; a broad superciliary stripe of 
buff extends from the bill to the occiput, but it is interrupted by an extension of the 
dark crown nearly or quite down to the eye; the color of the back is relieved by buffy 
spots on the thighs, scapulars, and wings." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 11.50-15.00, 
wing 6.15-7.40, bill 1.40-1.60." (Bailey) Nest: A shallow depression, usually well 
concealed in the grass, well lined with grass and weeds and protected with a cover 
of down. Eggs: 6 to 18, usually 10 to ix, dull white or cream colored. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds over northern part of continent south to Gulf of St. 
Lawrence, southern Ontario, Wisconsin, northern Iowa, Nebraska, southern Colo- 
rado, New Mexico, Nevada, and central California. Winters in southern part of 
continent, most abundantly in southwestern United States and Mexico. In Oregon: 
Reported as breeding in Klamath Lake, Harney, and Washington Counties by early 
observers but known to us only as a migrant. In migration, one of the common 
ducks on all waters of State. Winters regularly and commonly on coast and on 
Columbia River, at least as far as Portland, and occasionally on open waters in 
eastern part of State. 

THE GREEN-WINGED TEAL, the smallest of the ducks that visit Oregon, 
is popularly reported to be the fastest on the wing, and many are the 
stories told around duck clubs of the speed these birds are able to attain 
when really in a hurry. Townsend (1839) included it in his list of birds 
for this area. Anthony (1886) stated in his paper on the birds of Wash- 
ington County that a few bred in that territory in the eighties. Bendire 
(1877) reported it as breeding in the Harney Valley. It has also been 
reported as breeding in the Klamath country by J. J. Furber, formerly 
warden of the Lower Klamath Bird Reservation, and as nesting near the 


Warner Lakes region, by Prill, but we have not found it breeding during 
our years in the State. 

This beautiful little bird appears in abundance in late September or 
early October in many sections of the State and remains to winter wherever 
there is open water available. It is one of the common wintering ducks 
on the Columbia River about Portland and is regularly found on all the 
larger bays and lakes of the coast. We have records for Umatilla and 
Klamath Counties, December 10, and for Wallowa County, near Enter- 
prise, February 2.0. It remains well into the spring, although most of the 
flocks have departed by mid-April. Our earliest record of its fall appear- 
ance in numbers is August 18 (Klamath County); and the latest record 
on the west side of the Cascades, April 2.1 (Multnomah County). Our 
earliest fall record is August 17; our latest spring date, May 13 (both Lake 

Although teal are not as noisy as some ducks, one of the characteristic 
sounds of the willow-grown lakes and ponds of the Columbia River 
bottoms is the soft throaty whistle of the little males that are quite 
talkative at times. Usually, however, they are rather quiet birds, spend- 
ing hours at a time sitting motionless on the water or standing statuelike 
on some little point. They walk better than most ducks and can run quite 
rapidly. Like others of their immediate relatives, they can spring straight 
into the air from water or land for a surprising height and, when once 
launched, carry out aerial evolutions that are equaled only by those of 
some of the sandpipers. With bewildering speed they turn at right angles 
in full flight, dip straight down, or rise straight into the air. At such 
times they are as difficult to shoot as jacksnipes and for this reason are 
great favorites with many sportsmen. The sight of a small flock of these 
birds darting, swinging, and turning suddenly downward at almost right 
angles to drop into the water is one never to be forgotten by an out-of- 
doors enthusiast. Words cannot adequately describe the suddenness of 
their flight-direction changes or their swift downward rocketing, throw- 
ing their wings first to one side and then the other. 

Their food is like that of most other shallow-water ducks. More than 
90 per cent of it is vegetable matter, most of which, according to Bio- 
logical Survey records, is comprised of seeds of sedges, pondweeds (Pota- 
mogetons\ grass, smart-weeds (P oly gonurn) , duckweeds, and various other 
water plants. 

Blue-winged Teal: 

Querqtiedula discors (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. ''Adult male: Sides of head slaty gray, with purple gloss; white 
crescent in front of eye bordered by black; under parts vinaceous, finely spotted with 
dusky; back scalloped and streaked with dusky and vinaceous; wing bright blue at 
base, middle coverts tipped with white and buffy, speculum iridescent green; under 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [145] 

tail coverts black, base of tail with white patch on either side. Adult female: Crown 
mainly dusky, rest of head and neck speckled and streaked with dusky; back dusky; 
under parts gray, mottled with dusky; wing with lesser coverts blue, greater [coverts] 
tipped with white, speculum greenish. Young: Belly white, wing without green." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "In the downy young the colors of the upper parts vary from 
'mummy brown' to 'Dresden brown,' darker on the crown and rump, lighter else- 
where, the down being much darker basally; the under parts are 'maize yellow," 
shaded locally with 'buff yellow,' due to the darker tips of the down; the sides of 
the head are 'yellow ocher' or pale 'buckthorn brown' in young birds, but these 
colors soon fade and all the colors grow paler as the young bird increases in size. 
The color pattern of the head consists of a dark-brown central crown bordered on 
each side by a broad superciliary stripe of yellow ocher, below which is a narrow 
postocular stripe, a loral patch, and an auricular spot of dusky. On the back the 
brown is broken by four large spots of yellowish, one on each side of the rump and 
one on each scapular region." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 14.50-16.00, wing 7.00-7.50, 
bill 1.40-1.65." (Bailey) Nest: A shallow depression in the ground or in the reeds, 
well lined with fine grasses and down. More down is added as incubation advances 
until eggs are well concealed when female leaves the nest. Eggs: 6 to 15, usually 
10 to 12., dull white to creamy white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds mainly in central North America from central British 
Columbia, Great Slave Lake, northern Saskatchewan and Ontario south to Louisiana, 
Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico. Winters in southern States south to South 
America. In Oregon: Regular but not common visitor to eastern Oregon; probably 
breeds each year in small numbers. 

THE STRIKINGLY marked little Blue-winged Teal is primarily a bird of the 
great interior section of the continent, being the most abundant breeding 
duck of the upper Mississppi Valley. It is a beautiful and showy little 
species, and it is to be regretted that it is not more common in the State. 
It is a regular, but not common, summer resident of eastern Oregon and 
has been listed from there in small numbers by most observers. It is 
probable that many of the records given by casual observers for eastern 
Oregon in reality referred to the Cinnamon Teal, as the conspicuous light- 
blue patch on the wings is common to both species and not diagnostic 
for the Blue-winged Teal, as is frequently assumed. 

Newberry (1857) credited it with being a common species in Oregon. 
Bendire (1877) reported it from Camp Harney as a rare species, nonbreed- 
ing. Various other early travelers listed it as found in eastern Oregon. 
Willett (1919), while warden at Malheur Lake, reported it on June 13; 
and various men stationed as wardens at Malheur and Klamath Lakes 
have listed occasional individuals. Prill (192.2^) reported one nest with 
eggs found May 2.5 in the Warner Valley. We have seen it in Lake, 
Harney, and Klamath Counties more or less regularly during April, May, 
and June. Our earliest record is April 18 (Klamath County); our latest, 
June 1 6 (Harney County). Records for later dates would be difficult to 
substantiate unless birds were taken, as in the eclipse plumage it is very 
difficult to distinguish these birds in the field. There is one specimen in 
the Gabrielson collection taken at Klamath Falls April 18, 1914, and 

[i 4 6] 


DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [ 147 ] 

George Tonkin, who was familiar with the species in eastern United 
States, reported a pair seen at Baldock Slough, near Baker, on May 19, 
1914. Woodcock (1902.) reported it as found near Dayton and Scio; Prill 
(1895 a) listed it as wintering near Sweet Home, Linn County; and Overton 
Dowell, Jr., saw five on Mercer Lake, Lane County, June Z9, 1931, and 
collected specimens to confirm the record, the only western Oregon skins 
known to us. 

It would be well for sportsmen, particularly in western Oregon, where 
Cinnamon Teal, both males and females, are killed frequently, to be on 
the lookout for the beautiful little Blue-winged Teal. We know of no 
way in which the females of the two species may be distinguished by 
gunners, as they are inseparable in the field and can only with difficulty 
be distinguished in the hand; the only differences being comparative ones 
of shade. The male Blue-winged Teal are well marked, however, and 
could be readily picked out by any one at all familiar with the other 
species of teal. The adult males are easily distinguished from the adult 
Cinnamon Teal males by their much paler coloration the breast in par- 
ticular being a bright, buffy brown marked with round black polkadots 
instead of the bright cinnamon red and by the conspicuous white crescent 
on the side of the head that distinguishes this duck from all others. 

We have no Oregon food notes, but the general feeding habits are 
similar to those of the Cinnamon Teal. 

Cinnamon Teal: 

Querquedula cyanoptera (Vieillot) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Head, neck, breast, and sides bright cinnamon brown, 
fading to dull brown on belly and becoming blackish on chin and crown; back dusky, 
shoulders spotted and barred with dusky and brown; wing with lesser coverts light 
blue, middle coverts tipped with white, speculum green, tertials broadly striped with 
blue, greenish black, and rich buff. Adult female: crown dusky, rest of head and neck 
finely specked and streaked with dusky on buffy ground; rest of upper parts dusky 
scalloped with buff; wing with large blue patch; under parts brownish, mottled with 
dusky. Young: like female, but more streaked below. " (Bailey) Downy young: ' The 
downy young of the Cinnamon Teal is 'mummy brown' above, darkest on the crown, 
and the tips of the down are 'buffy citrine,' producing a golden olivaceous appear- 
ance on the back; the forehead, the sides of the head, including a broad superciliary 
stripe, and the under parts vary from 'mustard yellow' on the head to 'amber yellow' 
on the breast and 'napthaline yellow' on the belly; there is a narrow stripe of dark 
brown on the side of the head; and the color of the back is relieved by a yellowish 
spot on each side of the rump, scapular region, and edge of the wing." (Bent) Si%e: 
"Length 15.50-17.00, wing 7.2.0-7.2.5, bill 1.65-1.85." (Bailey) Nest: A shallow 
depression in the ground, often at considerable distance from the water, lined with 
grass and vegetable debris and quantities of dark-colored down. Eggs: 6 to 14, 
usually 10 to 12., pale buff to pure white (Plate 2.4, A). 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in western North America from western Montana, 
eastern Wyoming, western Kansas, and central Texas west to southern British 
Columbia, northwestern Washington, central Oregon, and central California. 


Winters in southwestern United States and Mexico. In Oregon: Breeds commonly in 
great marshes of Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties and more sparingly in marshes 
of Malheur, Union, Umatilla, Crook, and probably other counties of eastern Oregon. 

THE BRIGHTLY marked and showy little Cinnamon Teal is as common in 
eastern Oregon as the preceding species is rare. Townsend (1839) first 
noted it in Oregon, and since his time nearly every ornithologist who has 
visited the eastern part of the State has reported it as a nesting species 
(Plate 2.4, A). Walker (icjiyb) found it breeding in Paulina Marsh in 
northern Klamath County. It is an abundant summer resident that nests 
in May and June, our earliest date of arrival being April 2. (Lake County). 
Stragglers and small flocks remain until November, or occasionally even 
into the winter, our latest record being December 15 (Malheur County). 

In May, June, and early July every roadside pond and water-filled ditch 
in eastern Oregon is likely to display some of these very beautiful ducks. 
In districts where not molested at this season they become very tame and 
frequently allow a car to drive past without disturbing them in their 
feeding in roadside ditches. Most of the eggs are laid in May or early 
June, and fleets of infant ducklings are common sights on all of the ponds, 
large or small, during July and early August. When the young are first 
able to fly they are exceedingly reckless in their behavior and easily 
killed by out-of-season gunners along the roadside. As these birds leave 
comparatively early in the season, most of them being gone within a 
few days after October i, they do not suffer greatly from hunters in this 
State, and any decrease in the numbers of breeding birds, except that 
caused by destruction of their nesting grounds, must be laid to gunners 
farther south. 

Cinnamon Teal, like the Green-winged Teal, are surprisingly swift 
on the wing and are exceeded only by that species in their ability to 
maneuver in the air. They are very quiet, the only note reported by most 
observers being a very matter of fact quack given by the female. The 
males are among the most brilliantly colored of all our ducks, and the 
females, in their demure gray plumage and showy blue-tinted wings, 
furnish effective foils for their brilliant mates. 

Food of the Cinnamon Teal, like that of related species, is largely 
vegetable matter. Various species of pondweeds, sedges, grass, and smart- 
weeds and other miscellaneous water and land plants furnish the bulk of 
it. Such animal matter as is taken consists of insects, mollusks, and 
miscellaneous items. 


Spatula clypeata (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill long, much widened toward end; the long, fine comb-like teeth 
conspicuous along side of closed bill. Adult male: head and neck black, glossed on 
sides and back with green ; wing coverts light blue with a white bar; scapulars 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [149] 

streaked with blue, white, and black; speculum green; chest white, belly chestnut; 
bill black, feet orange. Adult female: plumage mainly spotted and streaked with 
dusky and brown; wing as in the male but duller." (Bailey) Downy young: "Even 
when first hatched the young shoveller's bill is decidedly longer and more spatulate 
than that of the young mallard, and it grows amazingly fast, so that when two weeks 
old there is no difficulty in identifying the species. The color of the downy young 
above varies from 'olive brown,' or 'sepia,' to 'buffy brown,' darker on the crown, 
which is 'clove brown' or 'olive brown'; the color of the back extends far down onto 
the sides of the chest and on the flanks. The under parts vary from 'maize yellow' or 
'cream buff' to 'cartridge buff' or 'ivory yellow'; this color deepens to 'chamois' on 
the cheeks. There is a stripe of 'olive brown' through the eye, including the loral 
and postocular region, also an auricular spot of the same. There is a light buffy spot 
on each side of the back, behind the wings, and one on each side of the rump. The 
buffy or chamois colored stripes above the eyes are well marked and often confluent 
on the forehead." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 17-2.1, wing 910, bill z. 60-1. 90, width of 
bill at the base .60, near end i . 10-1 .2.0. ' ' (Bailey) Nest: Like that of other ducks of 
its kind, on the ground in grass or under bushes or trees, made of grass or other vege- 
tation and lined and covered with down. Eggs: 9 to 14, olive greenish to buff. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska to west coast of Hudson Bay and central 
New York, south to Indiana, northern Iowa, Kansas, New Mexico, Arizona, and 
southern California. Winters from British Columbia on coast and in interior from 
southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, central Texas, and southern Mississippi 
Valley to South America. In Oregon: Breeds regularly in eastern Oregon, mostly in 
Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties. Appears on west side of Cascades during 

THE SHOVELLER, or "Spoonbill" or "Spoony," as it is known among 
lovers of the duck marshes, is, in the male, one of our most brilliantly 
colored native ducks and at the same time one of our most grotesque 
looking. The striking markings of the male, with white and chestnut 
red and bright blue in the plumage, are all obscured by the huge spoon 
bill, which is almost twice as wide at the upper end as at the base. In 
watching their flight, an observer constantly expects to see these birds 
tipped downward, head over heels, by the weight of the huge bills, and 
one wonders how they manage to keep their feet down and their heads 
up when in the water. Awkward as the bill appears, however, it is a 
very useful implement, as it is edged with fine, comblike teeth that act 
as a strainer for sifting out the mud from the seeds and bulblets on which 
this duck delights to feed. 

The Spoonbill is an abundant summer resident of the great eastern 
Oregon marshes. As it loves warm weather, it is one of the later ducks 
to arrive, usually appearing in numbers in April or early May. Our 
earliest record is March zz (Lake County); and our latest, December 10 
(Klamath County). The Shoveller population is not at its height, how- 
ever, until well into April, and it becomes increasingly scanty after mid- 
September. Townsend (1839) first listed the species for the State, and 
every ornithological observer who has visited eastern Oregon since has 
commented on its presence. It is a regular nesting species on the Malheur 


Lake Refuge, on Klamath and Warner Lakes, and possibly on many other 
small swamps east of the Cascades. Its nest, similar to other duck nests, 
is made on the ground, frequently at some distance from the water's edge, 
and is well concealed by the grass or low bushes. The 10 or 12. pale buff 
to pale-greenish eggs are laid in the shallow depression, which is lined 
with vegetable matter and with down from the mother's breast. As in- 
cubation progresses, the amount of down is increased until the eggs are 
well covered and concealed by it during the parent bird's absence from 
the nest. 

In western Oregon, where the Shoveller appears in migration, it is most 
common in November, so far as our own rather deficient records go, and 
occasionally at least spends the winter on the Columbia River or the 
larger bays of the coast. It is fairly common in the vicinity of Portland 
during the fall hunting season and has wintered there on Reed College 
Lake in the Eastmoreland Golf Course. 

Although this species feeds by tipping up, it can, on occasion, swim 
well under water. A wounded female observed by Gabrielson in a small, 
clear pond repeatedly crossed the pond under water and several times 
endeavored to conceal herself in the vegetable matter at the bottom by 
grasping a stem with her bill. When compelled to rise to the surface for 
air, only the tip of the bill was protruded. Gabrielson concealed himself 
and watched for some time; when the bird thought herself unobserved, 
she swam away down stream so low in the water that only the very top 
of the back and the end of the bill projected above the surface. 

Shovellers are not generally regarded as good table birds in this terri- 
tory, as they are frequently in poor flesh during the hunting season. In 
other sections of the country they are rated much higher. Their food 
consists of buds and shoots of young water plants, species of other vege- 
table matter, and a great variety of small aquatic worms, insects, snails, 
tadpoles, and other animal matter frequently strained from the mud and 
debris of the bottom by their specially adapted big bills. 

Wood Duck: 

Aix sponsa (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill narrow, higher than wide at base. Both sexes with drooping 
crests. Adult male: bill marked with black, white, red, and yellow; head and crest 
brilliant purple and green, with white stripes; throat white; chest rich chestnut, 
with rows of white triangles; sides gray, with black and white bars and crescents; 
shoulder crossed by black and white bars; rest of upper parts black, varied with rich 
iridescent colors. Adult female: head dull grayish, glossed with green on crest and 
crown; sides of head and throat white; chest brown, belly white; back richly glossed 
grayish brown." (Bailey) Downy young: "Much darker above and paler below than 
the young mallard; the lower mandible and the smaller tip of the upper mandible are 
of a rich yellowish shade, which will serve to distinguish it from other ducks. The 
crown is a very deep rich 'seal brown' or 'bone brown,' or halfway between these 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [151] 

colors and black; a stripe of the same color extends from the eye to the dark color of 
the occiput and there is a lighter auricular spot; the back shades from 'bister' anter- 
iorly to the same color as the crown posteriorly, the hind neck is of a darker shade 
of 'bister'; the sides of the head and neck, including a superciliary stripe and the lores 
are 'cream color' shaded locally with 'Naples yellow'; the throat and under parts are 
'ivory yellow' to 'Marguerite yellow,' the colors of the upper and under parts 
mingling on the sides; there is a pale yellowish spot on each wing and on each side 
of the rump." (Bent) Si%e: "Male, length 19.00-10.50; wing 9.00-9.50; bill 1.40." 
(Bailey) Nest: A natural cavity in a tree, lined with down. Eggs.- 8 to 14, creamy 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia, northern Montana, Mani- 
toba, Ontario, and Labrador south to West Indies and southern United States. 
Winters largely in southern part of range. In Oregon: Mainly west of Cascades where 
it is abundant summer resident and common winter species. Much less common in 
eastern Oregon, but found at least in John Day Valley and Klamath Basin at present 
and formerly in Harney Valley. 

EVERY STUDENT of ornithology in this State since Townsend published his 
observations in 1839 has noted the strikingly colored Wood Duck. Bendire 
(1877) reported it as a rare resident of the Harney Valley in 1876, and 
both Mearns (1879) an ^ Merrill (1888) reported it from the Klamath 
Valley. Baird (1858) reported it from The Dalles in February 1855. This 
and Merrill's report (1888) of a flock of six that frequented the head of 
Squaw Creek just outside the fort and of a specimen shot at Fort Klamath 
on January 2.9 are the only winter records of this species in eastern Oregon, 
although it is a permanent resident west of the Cascades. 

We have records extending from Curry to Multnomah County and 
including every month. According to Jewett's records, by 1912. the Wood 
Duck had become a rare species along the Columbia River, but since that 
time it has increased until it is today an exceedingly common species not 
only along that river but in the other wooded river bottoms of the State. 
It has become so numerous, in fact, that some gunners complain bitterly 
about the amount of wheat eaten by the "woodies" in their baiting 
grounds. Although the species is found throughout the wooded areas of 
the State, in our experience Sauvies Island and Carleton Lake are the two 
great concentration points. There these ducks frequently may be seen by 
the hundreds, and one seldom visits either area without listing them. 

During the summer, although common, these ducks do not attract a 
great deal of attention from the average observer, as they stay in scat- 
tered pairs along the brush-grown streams and ponds where it is easy to 
escape detection. In fact, if it were not for their funny high-pitched 
squeals as they dart through the trees or circle over the treetops, they 
would be noticed very infrequently by most observers. In the fall and 
winter months, they gather in small bands that frequent the more open 
ponds, where the gaudy drakes and their softly beautiful mates become a 
conspicuous element in the waterfowl population. 

Probably no single feature of bird life has provoked more discussion 


than this duck's habit of nesting in trees, sometimes 30 or 40 feet above 
the ground. How does it get the young down? Various observers have 
reported seeing them carried down in the parent's bill or on her back. 
Others report that the young flutter down to the water or ground, as 
the case may be, using their wings to break the force of the descent. 
Bent (192.3), who has spent a great deal of time investigating the habits 
and behavior of waterfowl, believes the latter to be the usual method 
and that carrying is resorted to only in unusual cases. Gabrielson knows 
of a pair of Wood Ducks that has nested for several years in an Oregon 
ash on Sauvies Island but he has never been fortunate enough to witness 
the ceremony of getting the young to the water. As the tree in question 
is on the water's edge and the cavity not more than 15 feet above the 
surface, it probably presents no special problem to an anxious mother. 

Studies by the Biological Survey show that this duck feeds on a great 
variety of vegetable food. It not only takes the seeds and vegetative 
parts of many water plants commonly eaten by other ducks but shows a 
fondness for acorns, beechnuts, pecans, and other nuts. It also takes a 
small proportion (less than 10 per cent) of animal food, consisting chiefly 
of dragonflies, damsel flies, grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, flies, and other 
miscellaneous matter. One Oregon stomach from Klamath Falls was 
filled with seeds of Myriophyllum and seeds and vegetative parts of Hippuris 
vulgaris, two common water plants of this region. A second stomach, from 
Portland, contained seeds of smartweed (Polygonum hydro-piper), Triglochin 
maritima, snowberry (^Symphoricarpos), and fragments of several insects. 


Nyroca americana (Eyton) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill little more than twice as long as wide. Adult male: whole head 
and neck bright reddish chestnut; shoulders and chest black; belly white; sides and 
back uniform gray, with fine lines of black and ashy; tail and feathers around base 
black. Adult female: plumage dull grayish brown except for whitish chin, throat, 
and belly." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young is quite different from other 
ducklings, being more uniformly colored with less contrast between the light and 
dark areas. The upper parts, including the crown, back, rump, and tail are 'light 
brownish olive,' but the deep color of the basal portion of the down is much con- 
cealed by the light yellowish tips; the side of the head and neck, including the fore- 
head and a broad stripe above the eye, are 'olive-ocher* paling to 'colonial buff' on 
the throat and chin; the remainder of the under parts is 'colonial buff' with deeper 
shadings; there are shadings of 'chamois* on the sides of the head and neck, but no 
conspicuous dark markings; in some specimens there are suffusions of brighter yellow 
in all of the lighter-colored parts, such as 'amber-yellow' or 'citron yellow'; there is 
a yellowish spot on each of the scapulars and on each side of the rump. All of the 
colors become paler and duller as the duckling increases in size." (Bent) Si^e: 
"Length 17-11, wing 8.50-9.2.5, bill 2.. 05 -2.. 2.5, width of bill .75-. 85." (Bailey) 
Nest: On marshy ground or on floating platforms of reeds in shallow water, built of 
grasses and weeds and lined with down. Eggs: From 6 to iz, usually between 10 and 
15, grayish white or pale olive (Plate 14, B). 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [153] 

DISTRIBUTION.- General: Breeds from central British Columbia, central Alberta, 
central Saskatchewan, and central Manitoba south to southern Michigan, Wiscon- 
sin, southern Minnesota, central Nebraska, southern Colorado, New Mexico, and 
southern California. Winters mainly in southern United States. In Oregon: Present 
breeding range restricted to Malheur, Harney, Lake, and Klamath Counties, much 
less common there than formerly. Formerly reported an abundant migrant and 
winter resident of western Oregon, now of only local occurrence west of Cascades. 

THE REDHEAD, once one of the common breeding ducks of Oregon, par- 
ticularly in the ponds of Klamath County, has suffered as much from the 
combination of long-continued drought and agricultural development of 
its summer home as any species found in the State and must now be ranked 
as one of our rapidly vanishing species of waterfowl. Baird (1858) first 
recorded it for Oregon at The Dalles, January 7, 1885. Every ornithol- 
ogist who has since visited the great interior country has commented on 
its presence either as a nesting or migrant species. Anthony (Bailey 1901) 
reported it as wintering on the Columbia. Bohlman (Woodcock 1901) 
reported a specimen taken at Ross Island in the Willamette, November 
2.8, 1897, and there is a specimen in the University of Washington collec- 
tion taken by Rev. P. S. Knight at Salem, April 16, 1874. 

The species was formerly common from April to September, breed- 
ing in numbers in the shallow ponds and lakes of Klamath and 
Malheur Counties, and it still breeds in much reduced numbers in the 
fresh-water ponds and lakes of the southern half of the State east of the 
Cascades, where water conditions are favorable, being somewhat more 
abundant in Klamath than in Lake and Harney Counties and relatively 
scarce in Malheur, where it is a comparatively rare summer resident of 
the Cow Lakes district. In Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties it has 
been regularly found on the deeper ponds. The earliest date we have is 
March n; the latest, October 7, both Klamath County. Jewett found a 
nest containing 10 eggs on Miller Island in Klamath County, June 17, 
192.5, and reported one containing 6 eggs at Malheur Lake, June 10, 1912., 
and one with 9 eggs, June 4, 19x6. Prill recorded sets of from 8 to 10 
eggs at Pelican Lake, Lake County, in May and June 192.1. Visitors to 
these ponds in July and August are almost invariably rewarded by the 
sight of fleets of sooty-looking ducklings accompanied by an equally 
sooty, anxious mother. By mid-August, the young are well feathered 
and able to fly but, where unmolested, remain tame and unsuspicious up 
to the opening of the shooting season. We have no winter records from 
eastern Oregon in our own notes, but in the Biological Survey notes 
Furber reported the species at Klamath, December 18, 1910, and January 
14, 1913, and Cantwell, at Malheur, December 8, 1914. 

In western Oregon, this duck is seldom reported by present-day sports- 
men, and although Johnson (1880) formerly recorded it as an abundant 
migrant and winter resident of western Oregon, it is now of only local 


occurrence west of the Cascades. Milton Furness found a few wintering 
near Scappoose in January 1935. He saw them on several dates, and on 
January 30, 1935, Gabrielson visited the area with him, on which occa- 
sion four adult males were seen at close range. It is painfully apparent 
that so far as Oregon is concerned this species is rapidly declining in 
numbers and may soon be classed as one of our rarer waterfowl. 

All the three Oregon stomachs available for examination were from 
Klamath Falls, and they reveal that this diving duck feeds on much the 
same plants in this immediate vicinity as do the shallow-water ducks. 
It is probable that in so acting the Redhead makes a virtue of necessity, 
as no other food supply is easily available. The stomachs, all taken in 
late October and early November, contained 97 per cent vegetable matter 
and only 3 per cent animal matter. Seeds of pondweed (Potamogeton), 
sedge (Scirpus americanus), parrotfeather (M.yriophyllum spicatum), and 
marestail (Hippuris vulgaris) were the principal foods. 

Ring-necked Duck; Black-jack; Black Duck: 

Nyroca collaris (Donovan) 

DESCRIPTION.- "Bill narrower than in Nyroca 1 marila, black, crossed by blue band 
near end. Adult male: head, except small white triangle on chin, black, glossed with 
rich purple; neck encircled by narrow chestnut collar; chest and back black, back 
glossed with greenish; wings blackish, with blue gray speculum; middle of belly 
buffy white; sides finely vermiculated gray; crissum black. Adult female: throat and 
face whitish, rest of head, neck, and upper parts dull brown; wing with blue gray 
speculum as in male; chest and sides fulvous, belly white." (Bailey) Downy young: 
' The whole head, except the posterior half of the crown, is yellowish, shading from 
'chamois' or 'cream buff' on the cheeks and auriculars to 'colonial buff' on the throat; 
the posterior half of the crown and the occiput are 'bister,' nearly separated by points 
of yellow from a broad band of 'bister' which extends down the hind neck to the 
back; narrow dusky postocular streaks are faintly suggested; the dark color of the 
back changes gradually from 'sepia' anteriorly to 'bister' posteriorly; the under parts 
are 'ivory yellow' tinged with 'cream buff"; there are two large scapular patches, 
two narrow wing stripes and two small rump patches of 'cream buff'; there is also 
a narrow streak of the same color in the center of the upper back." (Bent) Si%e: 
"Length 15.50-18.00, wing 8.00, bill 1.75-1.00." (Bailey) Nest: Usually on a mass 
of dead rushes in shallow water, lined with down. Eggs: 8 to 12., dark olive drab 
and indistinguishable from those of the Lesser Scaup. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from northern Saskatchewan, western Ontario, and 
southern Wisconsin west to northeastern California, eastern Oregon, and southern 
British Columbia and north to Mackenzie Valley and Athabaska Lake. In Oregon: 
In winter found regularly in western Oregon and in Klamath and Malheur Counties 
in eastern Oregon, at least where open water is found. 

THE RING-NECKED DUCK is a squarely built, short-necked species, similar 
in appearance and habits to the scaups, with which it frequently asso- 
ciates. Many observers have failed to differentiate the three species, so 
that our knowledge of the relative abundance of each is meager. Some 

1 Nyroca=Aythya. 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [155] 

gunners group all three under the name "Bluebill." More discriminating 
sportsmen, particularly those who have shot in the Middle West, use the 
name "Black-jack" for this species, the name commonly given it along 
the Mississippi. In life it is distinguishable in any plumage by the gray 
speculum, or wing patch, which contrasts with the dead-white speculum 
of the scaups. In any ordinary light, this character usually shows up 
surprisingly well either when the bird is on the water or on the wing. 

The first record of this duck in Oregon is of one killed on Deer Island 
near the mouth of the Willamette River, March 2.8, 1806, by members of 
the Lewis and Clark expedition (Lewis and Clark 1814). Although the 
species was described in England in 1809 fr m a straggler there, this Deer 
Island bird was in reality the first of its kind to be obtained and described 
from America by any scientific expedition. Practically all naturalists who 
have visited the State since 1806 have noted the species in small numbers. 
Merrill (1888) stated that a few pairs remained to breed in Klamath 
marsh, but we have no recent records of its nesting in Oregon, and its 
present status, so far as known, is that of a regular migrant and winter 
resident that is widely distributed and of regular occurrence on the open 
waters of the State. In Klamath County, it occurs regularly on the 
Klamath River about Keno. Along the coast, it is regularly found on 
Siltcoos, Tahkenitch, and Devils Lakes and is probably regularly present 
on many others. At Portland, it not only frequents the Columbia River 
but is a regular visitor to Reed College Lake on the Eastmoreland Golf 
Course. Jewett believes that the species has become relatively more 
common in recent years. Since about 192.0, we have taken numerous 
specimens and have seen it regularly. We have specimens from Lane, 
Klamath, and Malheur Counties and from the Columbia River, near The 
Dalles and below Portland, and numerous sight records and notes on 
birds seen in hunters' bags, from Crook, Harney, Klamath, Lincoln, and 
Multnomah Counties. Our earliest fall date is September 2.3 (Crook 
County); latest spring date, April (Klamath County). 

The feeding habits of the species differ little from those of the scaups, 
and the food of the three species is undoubtedly the same in the same 
localities. The single Oregon stomach available for examination, from 
Klamath Falls, was filled with fragments of mollusk shells and seeds of 
Potamogeton, Scirpus, and Hippuris. 


Nyroca valisineria (Wilson) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill three times as long as wide. Adult male: head and neck rich 
chestnut brown, becoming dusky on crown and face; shoulders and chest black; 
sides and back light gray; belly white or grayish; tail and quills dark gray; feathers 
around base of tail black. Adult female: plumage mainly umber brown, becoming 


whitish around face and chin." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young show 
their aristocratic parentage as soon as they are hatched in the peculiar wedge-shaped 
bill and head. The color of the upper parts crown, hind neck, and back varies 
from 'sepia' to 'buffy olive.' The under parts are yellowish, deepening to 'amber 
yellow' on the cheeks and lores, brightening to 'citron yellow' on the breast, fading 
out to 'napthalene yellow' on the belly and to almost white on the throat. The 
markings on the side of the head are but faintly indicated; below the broad yellow 
superciliary stripe is a narrow brown postocular stripe and below that an indistinct 
auricular stripe of light brown. The yellow scapular patches are quite conspicuous, 
but the rump spots are hardly noticeable. The colors become duller and browner as 
the young bird increases in size." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 2.0.00-2.3.50, wing 8.75- 
9.15, bill" (Bailey) Nest: Usually a bulky mass of reeds in shallow water 
with a shallow depression in the top, lined with small bits of vegetable matter and 
down. Eggs: 7 to 9, pale olive green. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in western North America from central Alaska; 
Anderson River, Great Slave Lake, east and south to central Manitoba and Wisconsin 
and south to central Nebraska, northern New Mexico, northern Utah, and western 
Nevada. In Oregon: Formerly an abundant and still a regular migrant in Klamath, 
Harney, and Lake Counties. A few remain during summer in those counties and 
breed sparingly. 

THE GLISTENING white back and dark head of the Canvas-back, taken in 
conjunction with the long neck and low-brow effect of the bill and head, 
make this an easy duck to identify, either on the water or in the air. Its 
flight is swift and direct, and the long neck and bill extended to the 
utmost give it a trimness of outline in the air equalled only by the male 
Pintail. It was first definitely recorded from Oregon by Lewis and Clark 
(1814), who recorded it from the coast of Oregon, probably near the 
mouth of the Columbia River, on January 2., 1806, and also a few, March 
2.8, 1806, at Deer Island. Townsend (1839) found it common off the 
mouth of the Columbia on April 15, 1835, and Baird (1858) recorded it 
at The Dalles in January 1855. Newberry (1857) listed it as a breeder in 
Oregon and common on the Columbia in November. He stated: 

During the summer we found them more numerous than any other duck in the lakes and 
streams of the Cascade mountains. In those solitudes they nest and rear their young, as we 
frequently saw broods of young there, though the period of incubation had passed. 

This statement is curiously interesting in view of the fact that the Canvas- 
back does not at present frequent these high lakes during the summer. 
The only breeding species we now find regularly there is Barrow's Golden- 
eye, one or two pairs of which may be expected on each of the larger 
lakes. Bendire (1877) said: 

Equally common during the migrations, and breeding in the higher mountain valleys in the 
Blue Mountains, where I found them nesting on Bear Creek, at an altitude of six thousand 

These are the only definite nesting records we have found for the Canvas- 
backs in the State. They still remain through the summer in limited 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [157] 

numbers in the alkaline lake country of eastern Oregon, particularly in 
Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties, and are frequently found in pairs. 
Until 1936 neither of the authors had ever found a nest. Since that time 
a number of pairs have nested each year at Malheur Lake. 

Our records indicate that the vanguard of the Canvas-backs arrives in 
September (earliest dates, September 2.0, Multnomah County, and Sep- 
tember 2.5, Harney County), but the species does not become common 
until November. These ducks remain on the Columbia River and on the 
coastal bays and lakes through the winter until early May (latest record 
is May 5, Tillamook County). We have found the greatest concentra- 
tions on Tillamook Bay, where in January and February we have fre- 
quently seen rafts estimated to contain more than 5,000 birds. 

It seems evident that most of the Canvas-backs come down the Colum- 
bia River from the great midcontinent nesting grounds rather than down 
the coast. All observers report the species as decidedly uncommon on 
Puget Sound, which would not be the case if there were a coastal flight 
line. On the contrary, it is regularly and commonly found on the Colum- 
bia River and on the Oregon coast. There is no doubt whatever that the 
flight has greatly decreased in the past 10 years and that this magnificent 
waterfowl annually is becoming progressively scarcer. 

The lordly Canvas-back is stamped by gourmets and epicures as the 
finest of American waterfowl. Perhaps its reputation as a table bird has 
had something to do with its great decrease in numbers, although we can 
say frankly that, in common with other species of diving ducks that 
frequent the bays and lakes of the Oregon coast, it is frequently of very 
inferior table quality. When it is able to feast on ample quantities of its 
favorite eelgrass or on grain, it lives up to its reputation; but when, as 
frequently occurs, it feeds on the abundant snails and other small mollusks 
of those waters, it becomes so strong that only those with defective 
olfactory organs are able to remain in the house while one is being cooked. 

Nine stomachs from Klamath Falls showed that the Canvas-backs in 
that area had taken the same type of food as other ducks frequenting the 
district. Five stomachs were filled with seeds and tubers of a pondweed 
(Potamogeton pecfinatus), and three others contained pondweed to the 
extent of more than 50 per cent of the meal, the balance being made up 
of seeds of a sedge, Scirpus, a smartweed (Polygonum mublenbergit), Hippuris 
vulgaris, Myriophyllum, Brasenia schreberi, and M.enyanthes trifoliata. One 
nearly empty stomach contained a few insects, including a water beetle 
and two flies. Of three stomachs taken at intervals in the salt-water bays 
of Tillamook County, two were filled with the remains of mollusk shells 
and the third contained remains of four small crabs, bits of mollusk^shells 
and rootstalks, and leaves and seeds of eelgrass (^Zostera marina), a favorite 
food of this duck as well as of the brant in many western bays.^ 


Greater Scaup Duck: 

Nyroca marila (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill short and wide, bluish with black tip. Male in breeding 
plumage: head black, glossed with green; shoulders, rump, and chest black; belly 
white, margined along sides with light grayish; crissum black. Post-breeding 
plumage: similar to female but darker brown. Adult female: head, neck, chest, and 
sides brownish; region around base of bill, and belly, whitish." (Bailey) Downy 
young: "The downy young scaup duck is a swarthy duckling, deeply and richly 
colored with dark brown on the upper parts. The crown, hind neck, and entire back 
are a deep rich 'raw umber,' darker than any color in Ridgway's standards, with 
glossy reflections of bright 'argus brown'; this color invades the lores and cheeks 
and shades off gradually on the neck and sides into the color of the under parts; the 
sides of the head and neck are 'old gold' or 'olive ocher,' shading off to 'colonial 
buff' on the throat and to 'cream buff' and 'cartridge buff' on the belly; an area of 
darker color, approaching that of the upper parts, encircles the lower neck and fore 
breast and invades the posterior under parts, restricting the light-colored belly." 
(Bent) Si%e: "Length 18-2.0, wing about 8.50, bill 1.03." (Bailey) Nest: Usually 
a tuft of grass near the water, lined to some extent with fine grass and down. Eggs: 
Usually from 7 to 10, sometimes more, dark olive buff. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Michigan, northern Iowa (formerly), 
central Manitoba, central Alberta, and central British Columbia, east of Cascades 
northward and westward from Hudson Bay to Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea and 
Arctic Coast. In winter southward throughout United States. In Oregon: Appears 
on coast in winter from October to February, perhaps later. We have seen specimens 
from Lane, Douglas, Lincoln, Tillamook, and Benton Counties and from Columbia 
River below Portland but have not been fortunate enough to find specimens from 
east of the Cascades. 

THE GREATER SCAUP DUCK, or Big Blue-bill, has been reported in Oregon 
by many observers, but from all the evidence available it seems it has 
been hopelessly confused with the next species. Townsend (1839) stated 
it was found in the territory of Oregon. Bendire (1877) reported it as a 
common migrant at Camp Harney, and Merrill (1888) said: 

Abundant from autumn till spring. On June 15 I watched a pair of this species although 
it has not been recognized as breeding so far south, their size was certainly too great for 
affinis for some time in the marsh, and from their actions am confident that they were 
breeding and had a nest or young close at hand. 

Woodcock (1902.) recorded one specimen shot south of Corvallis on Decem- 
ber 2.7, 1899, and Walker (19x6) reported one taken at Netarts on Decem- 
ber 2.1, 19x0. In the Jewett collection, there are two from western Lane 
County taken November xo, 192.4, one from Siltcoos Lake shot January 
12., 192.5, and one from the Columbia River just below Portland taken 
October 17, 1916. Gabrielson collected one in Tillamook County, Novem- 
ber 5, 1932., and one at Devils Lake, Lincoln County, December 3, 1932.. 
In addition he has seen a few birds in hunters' bags about Devils Lake, 
most commonly in November 1930. 

From the above, it will be seen that definite information concerning 
this duck in Oregon is meager. The difficulty of separating the two 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [159] 

species of scaups in the field except under particularly favorable condi- 
tions makes it hard to determine their relative abundance. Aside from 
the larger size and heavier bill, the chief distinction, found only in adult 
males, is in the color of the iridescent reflection on the head. In marila 
this is green, while in affinis it is purple. Both writers have consistently 
examined hunters' bags whenever it was possible to do so. Despite what 
Bendire and Merrill have said, we have never had an actual specimen in 
hand in eastern Oregon and, as will be noted by checking the above 
records, have found this duck regularly only on the coast and as a 
straggler inland. It possibly occurs in small numbers more or less regu- 
larly on the Columbia and should be found at least casually on the Snake 
River, Upper Klamath Lake, and similar situations in eastern Oregon. 
To date, however, we have failed to detect it. 

No Oregon stomachs of this duck have been examined, but there is no 
reason to believe that the food differs materially from that of the Lesser 

Lesser Scaup Duck: 

Nyroca affinis (Eyton) 

DESCRIPTION. "Like Nyroca 1 marila, but smaller, with black of head glossed with 
purple instead of green, and sides more heavily lined with gray." (Bailey) Downy 
young: "The downy young is darkly and richly colored. The upper parts are dark, 
lustrous 'mummy brown' or 'sepia,' shaded with 'brownish olive'; these colors are 
darkest and most lustrous on the posterior half of the back and lightest on the 
shoulders; the dark colors cover the upper half of the head and neck, the back and 
the flanks, fading off gradually into a dusky bank around the lower neck and en- 
croaching on the ventral region posteriorly. The color of the under parts, which 
covers the lower half of the head, throat, breast, and belly, varies in different indi- 
viduals; in some it runs from 'olive ocher' to 'primrose yellow'; but in most speci- 
mens from 'chamois' to 'cream buff'; these colors are brightest and richest on the 
cheeks and on the breast. The markings on the head are usually indistinct, but a 
superciliary buff stripe, a loral dusky stripe and a postocular dusky stripe are dis- 
cernible in the majority of a series of n specimens in my collection. There is also an 
indistinct yellowish spot on each scapular region, but none on the rump." (Bent) 
Si%e- "Length 15.00-16.50, wing 7.50-8.2.5, bill 1.58-1.90, width of bill .80-. 95." 
(Bailey) Nest: A hollow in the ground, lined with a little dry grass and down, 
usually in a tuft of grass or beneath a bush near the water. Eggs: 6 to 15, usually 9 
to ix, dark olive buff in color. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from northern limit of timber west of Hudson Bay 
south to northern Ohio, southern Wisconsin, southeastern Iowa, northwestern 
Colorado, and central British Columbia. Winters from southern United States south 
to Central America. In Oregon: Abundant winter resident from September to about 
May i. Stragglers remain throughout summer but are nonbreeding birds so far as 
we know. 

OUR OWN EXPERIENCE, as well as a check of many hunters' kills, demon- 
strates that in Oregon the Lesser Scaup Duck is much the more abundant 

1 Nyroca=-Aythya. 


of the two scaups, or blue bills, as it is found wherever open water occurs. 
It usually keeps away from the shore in much the same manner as the 
Canvas-back. Bendire (1877) reported it from Camp Harney as an abund- 
ant migrant and as a possible breeder "in upper Sylvies Valley in the Blue 
Mountains, where I noticed several specimens June 8, 1876." It is not 
mentioned by the earlier naturalists who may have confused it with the 
Greater Scaup. 

Throughout the winter it is found on any available open water in 
Klamath (Link River and Upper Klamath Lake), Deschutes (Deschutes 
River), Harney, and Malheur (Snake River) Counties and may be ex- 
pected on any considerable body of open water. Our earliest date is 
September 2.5 (Harney County); our latest when numbers were seen, May 
ii (Klamath County). In western Oregon, it may be found anytime from 
October to April. It is a common winter resident of the coastal bays, 
such as the mouth of the Columbia River, and Tillamook, Siletz, Yaquina, 
and Coos Bays, and of many smaller bodies of water. It is common on 
the Columbia River also, at least from Portland westward, and on Tah- 
kenitch, Siltcoos, Devils, and many other lakes along the coast. Occa- 
sionally great rafts containing many Lesser Scaups and a scattering of 
other ducks are observed over favorite feeding grounds on Tillamook and 
other bays. 

Stragglers remain through the summer, particularly in Klamath and 
Harney Counties, but so far as we know these are nonbreeding birds. 
There is one summer record for Portland (August 10), when Jewett saw 
a few birds on the Eastmoreland Golf Course on Reed College Lake, a 
small pond that is a regular resort for waterfowl. 

This species, in common with other diving ducks, feeds in deeper water 
than do the river ducks, such as Mallards and Pintails. Eleven Lesser 
Scaup stomachs from Klamath Falls have been examined by the Biological 
Survey. The vegetable food taken in this locality is much the same as that 
eaten by other species of ducks. It consists of seeds and vegetative parts 
of such plants as pondweeds (^Po tamo get on), sedges (^Scirpus^), water milfoil 
(Myriophyllum), and Hippuris. Four stomachs were filled with vegetable 
matter as above, while seven contained animal material almost entirely 
save for fragments of vegetable matter being filled with shells of mol- 
lusks, badly broken up, among which were individuals of Fluminicola 
Nuftaliana, a Planorbis, and a species otLymnaea. This is a greater amount 
of animal matter than has been taken by any species of ducks so far dis- 
cussed for this locality. Two taken at Netarts likewise had partaken 
liberally of mollusks and a mass of ground-up vegetable matter. Lesser 
Scaups on the coast frequently become so strongly flavored as to become 
inedible, probably due to their habit of feeding heavily on the abundant 
small mollusks of that area. 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [ l6l ] 

American Golden-eye: 

Glaucionetta dangula americana (Bonaparte) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Head and crest rich dark green, a round white patch at 
base of bill; neck and under parts white; back black, shoulders white; wing with 
white central patch and white stripes on scapulars. Adult female: head and upper 
neck light snuff brown, neck with wide white or gray collar; belly white; chest, 
sides, and shoulders gray; wing dusky, with white on coverts and secondaries, the 
white greater coverts not tipped with dusky. Nail of bill not over .10 wide. Young 
male: like female, but sometimes with a suggestion of the white patch at base of bill, 
and less gray on chest." (Bailey) Downy young: "The upper part of the head, down 
to a line running straight back from the commissure to the nape, is deep, rich, 
glossy 'bone brown'; the throat and cheeks are pure white, the white spaces nearly 
meeting on the hind neck; the upper parts vary from pale 'clove brown' on the upper 
back to deep 'bone brown' on the rump; these colors shade off to 'hair brown' on the 
sides and form a ring of the same around the neck; the posterior edges of the wings 
are white, and there is a white spot on each scapular region and one on each side of 
the rump; the belly is white." (Bent) Si%e: "Male, length 18.50-13.00, wing 9.18, 
bill 1.95. Female, 16.50, wing 8.14, bill 1.64." (Bailey) Nest: A cavity in a tree, 
usually over the water, the nest itself hollowed out in a mass of rotten wood and 
lined with down. Eggs: 8 to iz, although occasionally up to 19, clear pale green 
in color. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from central Maine, northern New Hampshire, and 
Vermont, northern Michigan, northern Minnesota, northern North Dakota, north- 
western Montana, and central interior British Columbia north to the limit of large 
trees. Winters on coasts from Maine and the Aleutian Islands southward and in 
interior wherever there is open water on larger lakes and streams from Canada to 
Gulf coast. In Oregon: Common winter resident on all coastal bays and lakes, and 
also on Snake, Columbia, Deschutes, Klamath, Umatilla, Wallowa, and other 
similar streams that remain unfrozen through the winter. 

FOR SOME REASON, the American Golden-eye appears neither in Lewis and 
Clark's nor in Douglas' records for this district. Townsend (1839) re- 
ported it for Oregon, however, and nearly every ornithologist who has 
visited the State since has had some comment to make about it. The 
beautiful black and white males and the demure brownish and gray 
females are now equally familiar winter residents of the open waters of 
the State. The name "American Golden-eye" is given to distinguish the 
species from similar Old World forms, but because of the peculiar whist- 
ling noise produced by the rapid beat of its powerful wings it is known 
to most Oregonians as "Whistler," which is the name used widely by 
gunners in distinguishing it. Its squarely built, heavy body and striking 
black and white coloration combine to make it an easily recognized 
species either in flight or on the water. Its flight is strong and direct, 
the weighty body hurtling through the air at a surprisingly fast rate. 

This showy whistler is a hardy species and frequents the swift waters 
of the mountain streams which, with their tumbling rapids, churned into 
white foam, remain unfrozen through the coldest weather. It is very 
common on the Snake River and furnishes one of the attractions of a 


midwinter ride up the Wallowa Canyon. It occurs regularly and com- 
monly on the Columbia throughout its entire course along the northern 
boundary of the State and on the Deschutes and Klamath Rivers also, 
and it may be expected on any of the streams and lakes of western Oregon 
from November to March. We have winter records for Malheur, Wal- 
lowa, Grant, Baker, Umatilla, Morrow, Wasco, Deschutes, Klamath, 
and Harney Counties, and it undoubtedly occurs in all other eastern 
counties wherever there is open water. It is one of the latest ducks to 
arrive. Our earliest date is November 14 (Harney County); our latest 
spring date, May 17 (Klamath County), although its numbers diminish 
rapidly after March i. 

The American Golden-eye is an expert diver and feeds extensively on 
animal matter obtained from the icy waters. The percentage of animal 
food eaten while in Oregon is much larger than for most ducks, so that 
its flesh is frequently strong and unpalatable. Perhaps this accounts for 
the fact that it is not particularly sought by gunners and therefore remains 
comparatively common. Seven stomachs, five from Klamath County, one 
from Deschutes County, and one from Tillamook County, were examined 
by the Biological Survey. Five contained mostly animal matter, consist- 
ing of amphipods, crustaceans, mollusks, and insects, the latter being 
chiefly larvae of aquatic forms. One of the birds from Klamath County, 
however, had made almost a full meal on seeds of Hippuris, Scir-pus, and 
Myriophyllum, and a finely ground mass of vegetable debris, and the 
Tillamook bird had fed chiefly on a similar unrecognizable mass of vege- 
table debris. 

Barrow's Golden-eye: 

Glaucionetta islandica (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Similar to americana, but male with glossy blue black head, and 
triangular or crescent-shaped spot at base of bill; female with head and neck dark 
umber brown, white collar narrower, and white greater wing coverts tipped with 
dusky; nail of bill over .2.3 wide." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young of 
the Barrow goldeneye is very much like that of the common goldeneye. The upper 
half of the head, from below the eyes, and the hind neck are deep 'bone brown' or 
'seal brown'; the upper parts are 'bone brown,' relieved by white on the edge of the 
wing and by scapular and rump spots of white; the lower half of the head and the 
under parts are white; there is a brownish gray band around the lower neck." (Bent) 
Si%e: "Male, length 2.1-13, w i n g 9- I 7> bill 1.75. Female, wing 8.46, bill 1.56." 
(Bailey) Nest: In hollow trees, lined with down. Eggs: 6 to 15, pale green, almost 
indistinguishable from those of the American Golden-eye. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Greenland, Iceland, and Labrador; also from 
Alaska, British Columbia, Oregon, and California east to Colorado and Montana and 
north into Alberta and Mackenzie. Winters south on coasts to southern New Eng- 
land and San Francisco Bay. In Oregon: Breeds regularly in higher Cascade Lakes 
and possibly Wallowas and may be found sparingly in winter on coast. 

BARROW'S GOLDEN-EYE, except in adult male plumage, is so easily con- 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [163] 

fused with the more common American Golden-eye that our records of its 
occurrence in Oregon are probably much more meager than its actual 
numbers warrant. Mearns (1879) ^ rst reported it from Fort Klamath, and 
Merrill (1888) later found it a common wintering species in the same 
locality. We know very little about its present winter distribution, as 
we have only two winter records, both of them adult males, one, a mounted 
specimen seen by Jewett in Hermiston on January 13, 1917, but reported 
to have been killed earlier in the winter, and the other, a bird taken by 
him at Klamath Falls on January i, 192.9. The species may be expected 
in the State wherever there is open water, however, and hunters should 
carefully examine their game bags in an effort to detect it. 

We know it best as a summer resident of the high Cascade lakes and 
it may be expected on any of the larger lakes there during that season. 
There is an adult female (No. 3511) in Jewett's collection taken at Frog 
Lake, Lane County, on July 19, 1914, and we have both seen the species 
frequently on Diamond, Sparks, Elk, Paulina, and East Lakes. On Sparks 
Lake, Gabrielson saw a female with 10 to n young on July 2.7, 1919; and 
on Diamond Lake, he saw a female with 6 young on July 30, 1930, and 
two broods of partly grown birds on August 8, 1932.. 

The only stomach examined was that of Jewett's Frog Lake bird. It 
contained fragments of diving beetles, dragonfly and other insect remains, 
and finely divided vegetable matter. There is no reason to believe that 
its food differs materially from that of the American Golden-eye. 

Buffle-head; Butterball: 

Charitonetta albeola (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "A plump little duck with short, pointed bill and round, crested 
head. Adult male: head, except white patch, rich iridescent purple, violet, and 
green; back and part of wings black; rump and tail gray; rest of plumage white. 
Adult female: mainly grayish or dusky, with a large white spot on ear coverts and 
white patch on middle of wing; belly white." (Bailey) Downy young: "As might 
be expected, the downy young buffle-head closely resembles the young goldeneye in 
color pattern. The upper parts, including the upper half of the head from below the 
lores and eyes, the hind neck, the back and the rump, are deep rich 'bone brown,' 
with a lighter gloss on the forehead and mantle; the inner edge of the wing is pure 
white; there is a large white spot on each side of the scapular region and on each side 
of the rump; and an indistinct whitish spot on each flank. The under parts, including 
the chin, throat, cheeks, breast, and belly are pure white, shading off gradually into 
the darker color on the sides of the body and with an indistinct brownish collar 
around the lower neck." (Bent) Si^e: "Male, length 14.15-15.2.5, wing 6.75-6.90, 
bill 1.10-1.15." (Bailey) Nest: In hole in a tree or a bank, lined with down. Eggs: 
6 to 14, usually 10 to iz, varying from ivory yellow to pale olive buff. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia, central Alaska, northern 
Mackenzie, and Great Slave Lake south to northern Montana. Winters from Aleu- 
tians, Great Lakes, and coast of Maine southward to Mexico and Lower California. 
In Oregon: Formerly an abundant migrant and winter resident of Oregon, arriving in 
numbers in mid-October and remaining until mid-April. 


THE SPRIGHTLY little Buffle-head, or Butterball, is one of our widely dis- 
tributed wintering species and is found wherever there is open water. It 
appears most frequently in our records in the coast district, along the 
Columbia and Snake Rivers, and in the big duck counties, Harney, Lake, 
and Klamath. Our earliest date is September 2.0 (Lake County); our 
latest, May 15 (Tillamook County). It is rather remarkable that none 
of the earlier naturalists mentioned the species in their writings. The 
first record we find for Oregon is Bendire's report (1877) f it as a common 
migrant at Camp Harney, but there is an unrecorded specimen in the 
University of Washington Museum, taken by O. B. Johnson at Forest 
Grove, January 6, 1876. Since that time it has been reported by many 

In our experience, this beautiful little waterfowl was one of the most 
abundant and widely distributed winter ducks up to about 1930. Since 
then there has been a very noticeable reduction in the numbers that visit 
the State. Allen (1909) once reported the Buffle-head as breeding in 
Klamath Lake but later wrote the Biological Survey that this record was 
not to be used, and as there is no other evidence of its nesting within our 
limits, its status remains that of a migrant and winter resident. 

Few waterfowl that visit Oregon are more conspicuous than the little 
black and white male Buffle-head, either in the air or riding high on the 
water to best display its strikingly contrasted color pattern. The flight 
is exceedingly swift, and this, combined with its small size, makes it a 
difficult target. The bird is so small that it has little food value, even if 
the meat were of the finest quality. Frequently the meat is strong and 
unpalatable, however, particularly in our coastal waters, and conse- 
quently the bird is comparatively little sought by local gunners. 


Clangula hyemalis (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "A trim little duck with short bill; male with long slender tail; head 
not crested. Adult male in winter: head and fore parts to shoulders and breast white, 
except for patches of ashy and dusky on side of head; back middle tail feathers, and 
breast black; belly white posteriorly, shading into pearl gray on sides. Adult male 
in summer: sooty, except for white belly, ash gray face, and white eyelids; back and 
scapulars streaked with chestnut. Adult female in winter: tail not lengthened; head, 
neck, and under parts mainly white; chest grayish; crown dusky, rest of upper parts 
dusky brown, the scapulars bordered with lighter brown. Adult female in summer: 
head and neck grayish brown, with whitish spaces around eye and on side of neck. 
Young: similar to female in summer." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young 
old-squaw is very dark-colored above, very deep, rich 'clove brown, ' becoming almost 
black on the crown and rump, and paler 'clove brown' in a band across the chest. 
This dark color covers more than half of the head, including the crown, hind neck, 
and cheeks; it is relieved, however, by a large spot below the eye and a smaller one 
above it of whitish, also an indistinct loral spot and postocular streak of the same. 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [165] 

The throat is white and the sides of the neck and auricular region are grayish white. 
The belly is white. Both the dark and the light brown areas become duller and 
grayer with age." (Bent) Si^e: ''Male, length 2.o.75-i3-oo, wing 8.50-9.00, middle 
tail feathers 8.00-8.50. Female, length 15-16, wing 8-9, tail 8." (Bailey) Nest: 
Usually in the grass or beneath bushes near the water, lined with down. Eggs: 
Usually 5 to 9, "deep olive buff to yellowish glaucous." 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Arctic coast and barren grounds of Canada and 
Alaska south to Aleutian Islands and shores of Hudson Bay. Winters south to North 
Carolina, Great Lakes, and California. In Oregon: Irregular winter visitor to the 

THE OLD-SQUAW was first reported from Oregon by Townsend (1839). 
Newberry (1857) listed it as common at the mouth of the Columbia River 
in winter, and Woodcock (1901) recorded it as wintering on Yaquina 
Bay, on the report of B. J. Bretherton. At present it can be regarded only 
as an irregular winter visitor to the coast. T. T. Craig, of the Oregon 
Game Commission, shot one on Tillamook Bay, November 16, 1913 (now 
in Jewett Coll.)- A female, killed on Depoe Bay, December 2.7, 1933, and 
skinned and salted by Roy Kerr, was presented to Gabrielson through 
Braly and is now in his collection; and Jewett has a bird that was taken 
on Nehalem Bay, February 2.3, 1935. So far as we know these are the only 
existing specimens from the State. Gabrielson saw two birds at Tilla- 
mook Bay, December 2.9, 1931, that were almost certainly this species. 
They were at quite a distance but were observed for a long time through 
8-power binoculars. Gabrielson also saw a total of perhaps 50 individuals 
at sea off Depoe Bay, May 7, 1932.. All were flying northward in small 
groups or as individuals except one flock of 2.0. 

Western Harlequin Duck: 

Histrionicus histrionicus pacificus Brooks 

DESCRIPTION. "A small duck with moderate crest, short bill, and long sharp tail. 
Adult male in winter and spring: head and neck bluish black, with white patches; 
collar white; shoulder bar black and white; middle of crown black, bordered behind 
by chestnut; chest and shoulders dark plumbeous; belly sooty, sides bright rufous; 
wing with steel blue speculum and four white spots; rump black, with white spot 
on each side. Adult male in summer: colors much duller than in winter. Adult female: 
head, neck, and upper parts sooty, with a white spot on ear coverts and a large white 
patch on sides of face; belly mottled grayish." (Bailey) Downy young: (From three 
specimens in Jewett's collection taken in Wallowa County, two July 2.1, 192.5, and 
one July 2.9, 192.9.) These downy young are all a dark brown ("bister") on the back, 
top, and sides of head. In all three there are white spots above and in front of the 
eyes, an indistinct whitish streak in the scapular region, a white margin on the 
wings, and an indistinct yellowish brown spot on either side of the rump. A small 
area directly above the base of the bill varies from almost pure white to a yellowish 
brown in one specimen, spreading until it almost merges with the white spot in front 
of the eye. The under parts are white with more or less of the dark brown base of the 
down showing through, particularly on the throat and sides. Si%e: "Length 15.00- 
17.50, wing 7.40-8.00, bill 1.05-1.10." (Bailey) Nest: In hollow tree or stump or 



DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [167] 

under rocks or drift wood. Eggs: 5 to 10, varying from "light buff" or "cream 
color" to pale tints of same color. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska, British Columbia, and Mackenzie 
southward in mountains to Colorado and central California. Winters on coast from 
Pribilof Islands to central California. In Oregon: Permanent resident breeding along 
swift mountain streams of Wallowas and Cascades. Winters on coast. 

THE WESTERN HARLEQUIN DUCK (Plate 2.5) was first reported from what 
is now Oregon territory by Townsend (1839). Woodcock (1901) listed it 
on the basis of Bretherton's statement of "two or three pairs seen on the 
ocean in March of each year," the only other reference to it in Oregon 
ornithological literature aside from notes on the species in two short 
Condor articles by Jewett (192.5, 19310). We have found it to be a regular 
and fairly common resident of the State that winters regularly on the 
coast from Curry to Tillamook County from August to May (earliest 
date, August 8; latest, May 18; both Tillamook County). We have speci- 
mens and records from Curry, Lane, Lincoln, and Tillamook Counties 
and feel sure it will be found in other coast counties whenever adequate 
field work is done. 

We have three definite breeding records in Oregon, all of them made by 
Jewett. An adult female and two downy young were taken from the 
swift waters of the Wallowa River near Frazier Lake, July 2.1, 192.5, and 
on July 2.8, 192.9, a female and six downy young (one collected) were seen 
in the Imnaha River near the spot where Cliff River empties into it. Both 
of these localities are high in the Wallowa Mountains. The third record 
was made in the Cascades on Zigzag River in the Mount Hood National 
Forest where, on May 31, 1931, Jewett collected a set of six eggs, the first 
ever taken within the State and one of the few sets known. These eggs 
are now in the Braly collection. Jewett's notes on that occasion were as 
follows : 

May 30-31, 1931. Arrah Wauna, Wemme P. O., a female seen in front of the Fred Meyer 
cottage, feeding among the rocks in the swift waters of the Salmon River between nine and 
ten in the morning of May 30 and again on May 31. A female seen near Mossy Rocks cottage, 
a few miles above Rhododendron postoffice, and just out of Tollgate on Zig Zag River. The 
small son (Donald) of Herbert Cook showed me a nest containing six eggs which he had 
found the day before (May 30). The nest was located in debris on an overturned stump of 
Oregon alder, washed out in mid-stream during a recent flood. The nest was composed of 
dry rootlets well rimmed with dark down from the parent's breast. Donald told me that he 
had caught the female on the nest and handled her. 

Undoubtedly this beautiful little inhabitant of the mountain streams nests 
through the Cascades in suitable localities and more records will be pro- 
cured as the number of bird students increases. 

While on the coast, Western Harlequin Ducks frequent the rocky 
promontories and capes, where they are often found resting on the rocks 
at high tide and feeding about the exposed rocks at low tide (Plate 2.5). 


At such times they are quite tame and unsuspicious and allow a reason- 
ably close approach if sudden movements are avoided. The gaudily 
marked drakes and more demure females are usually found together, 
sometimes in pairs, but more often in small groups of three or four up 
to a dozen or more. As spring approaches, they are frequently found in 
trios of two males and one female, each of the former undoubtedly trying 
to win the demure female as a mate. Little has been written about the 
courtship of these birds. Bent (19x5) stated that B. J. Bretherton in 1896 
had written the best account, as follows: 

The writer has often watched the males in spring, calling, and the actions of these birds may 
justly be said to resemble the crowing of a rooster. In giving forth their call the head is 
thrown far back with the bill pointed directly upward and widely open; then with a jerk the 
head is thrown forward and downward as the cry is uttered, and at the same time the wings 
are slightly expanded and drooped. Afterwards they will rise in the water and flap their 

White-winged Scoter; Sea Coot: 

Melanitta deglandi (Bonaparte) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill swollen at base over nostrils and on sides; tip orange in male; 
feathers of lores coming close to nostrils, as far forward as those of forehead. Adult 
male: eyes white; plumage black or sooty, with white eye patch and wing speculum. 
Adult female: eyes brown; plumage sooty gray, darker above; wing speculum white." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young of the white-winged scoter is thickly 
covered with soft, silky down. The upper parts, including the upper half of the 
head, down to the base of the lower mandible and a space below the eye, are uniform 
'clove brown,' shading off to 'hair brown' on the flanks and into a broad collar of 
'hair brown' which encircles the lower neck. The chin and throat are pure white, 
which shades off to grayish white on the lower cheeks and the sides of the neck. 
The under parts are silvery white, and there is an indistinct, tiny white spot under 
the eye." (Bent) Si%e-' "Length 19.75-13.00, wing 10.65-11.40, bill 1.40-1.70." 
(Bailey) Nest: Usually a depression in the ground, lined with grass, moss, and 
down and concealed beneath some small shrub. Eggs: 9 to 14, "sea-shell pink." 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from northwestern Alaska, Hudson Bay, and Gulf of 
St. Lawrence to southern Manitoba, central North Dakota, and northeastern Wash- 
ington. Winters south to South Carolina, Great Lakes, and Lower California. In 
Oregon: Abundant winter and fairly common summer resident of coast. Appears only 
casually in interior. 

THE BIG, clumsy, heavy-bodied White-winged Scoter, or Sea Coot, is the 
most abundant of the three species represented in the great rafts found 
along the Oregon coast, our records showing it to be present every month. 
Its flight is somewhat labored but swift and straight once it leaves the 
water. It is one of the most abundant seafowl, constituting a large part 
of the V- or U-shaped flocks seen flying up and down the coast or crossing 
into the bays and lakes to feed in their winter waters. It is common on 
the ocean and also on the bays and big fresh-water lakes adjacent to the 
coast. When its present abundance is considered, it is remarkable that 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [169] 

none of the early naturalists mentioned its presence in the State. So far 
we have found that Woodcock's list (1902.) contained the first published 
reference to it as an Oregon bird. The numerous individuals that remain 
with us through the summer are nonbreeding birds, as there is no evidence 
whatever to indicate that they nest in the State. 

Inland, we have only a few records. Woodcock (1901) reported a 
specimen received from a hunter near Corvallis on November 4, 1900. 
Jewett has a specimen from the Columbia River below Portland, col- 
lected January 2., 192.7. There have been at least two birds taken near 
Klamath Falls. One, a female (Game Commission Coll. No. 480), was 
obtained on November 2.0, 1912., and the second, reported by Telford 
(1916), was killed November n, 1915. Almost certainly ducks of this 
species have been noted on the Snake River near Ontario on one or two 
occasions, but conditions prevented positive identification. Since this 
species nests abundantly in the interior of Canada and must reach the 
Oregon coast by an overland flight, it may be expected on any large body 
of water in eastern Oregon. 

In common with other scoters the White-winged Scoters display an 
uncanny power to handle themselves even in the heaviest surf. They 
habitually feed among the breakers, diving through them just in time to 
avoid the smother of foam or riding buoyantly over the crests if there is 
even a slight gap of solid water where the wave has not broken. It is a 
fascinating sight to watch them under such conditions. An observer 
momentarily expects to see them tumbled end over end in the breaking 
waters, but always at the last possible moment they dive into the solid 
water to appear behind the crest or an unbroken bit of crest will appear 
to allow them to ride triumphantly over. Never have we seen a case of 
misjudgment on the part of one of these ducks, so much at home in the 
rough waters of our coasts. 

These sea ducks feed on shellfish and are often accused of destroying 
quantities of oysters. They swallow shellfish of almost unbelievable size, 
and their economic status has been the subject of recent studies by the 
Biological Survey, the results of which are not yet available for publi- 

Surf Scoter; Sea Coot; Skunk Duck: 

Melanitta perspicillata (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill with swollen sides of base naked ; feathers of forehead reaching 
to near nostril, of lores only to corner of mouth; bill black and less swollen in 
female; red, orange, yellow, and white in male, with large black spot on side of 
base. Adult male: entire plumage velvety black except for triangular white patch on 
forehead and another on back of head; eyes white. Adult female: upper parts sooty 
brown, under parts silver gray, usually with white patch at corner of mouth. 
Young: like female, but with whitish patches at base of bill and back of ear." (Bailey) 


Downy young: No specimens, the youngest known being two half-grown young, de- 
scribed as follows: "Although as large as teal, these birds are still wholly downy, 
with no trace of appearing plumage. The smaller, a female, has the crown, down 
to and including the eyes, a deep glossy 'clove brown' in color; the color of the back 
varies from 'olive brown' anteriorly to 'clove brown' on the rump; the sides of the 
head and throat are grayish white, mottled with 'clove brown'; the entire neck is 
pale 'clove brown'; the colors of the upper parts shade off gradually into paler sides 
and a whitish belly. In younger birds these colors would probably be darker, 
brighter, and more contrasted, as they are in other species." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 
10-11, wing 9.15-9.75, bill 1.30-1.60." (Bailey) Nest: Of plant stems, lined with 
down, usually concealed beneath a bush near the water. Eggs: 5 to 9, cartridge buff. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds far north in northwestern Alaska and northern 
Canada south to Mackenzie, James Bay, and Gulf of St. Lawrence. Winters south 
to Florida, Great Lakes (occasionally to Louisiana), and Lower California. In 
Oregon: Abundant permanent resident on coastal waters. Found only casually inland. 

THE SURF SCOTER, or Skunk Duck, is a very common species on the Oregon 
coast, where it is a familiar inhabitant of the bays and lakes. It ranks 
second only to its white-winged cousin and at times exceeds it in num- 
bers, often being present in immense numbers from August to May and 
in smaller numbers during June and July. These latter individuals are 
undoubtedly nonbreeding birds, possibly recovered cripples as yet unable 
to endure the long northward flight to the breeding grounds. We have 
coastal records for every month, but our only inland record is of a bird 
killed on the Columbia River at Portland, October 8, 19x8, and given to 
Jewett. Little has appeared in Oregon literature regarding this abundant 
species. It is curious that Townsend (1839) mentioned it as present but 
omitted any reference to the White-winged Scoter, which at present is 
equally abundant. 

The conspicuous head markings distinguish the male Surf Scoters, 
either in the air or on the water. The females are more difficult to identify, 
although they do show some traces of the head markings. The flight is 
direct and much less labored than that of the White-winged Scoter, and 
everything said about the skill of the latter in the surf applies equally to 
this closely related species. While in Oregon, the feeding habits and 
behavior of these two scoters are much the same, and the two are often 
intermingled in great flocks, or rafts, just outside the breakers. 

American Scoter: 

Oidemia americana Swainson 

DESCRIPTION. "Plumage dark without white markings; eyes always brown. Adult 
male: bill swollen back of nostrils, with a large yellow and red spot at base, includ- 
ing nostrils; plumage black or sooty. Adult female: bill black, with a trace of yellow 
at base in breeding plumage, not swollen at base; upper parts dusky brown, under 
parts grayish brown. Young: like female but lighter and indistinctly barred below. 
(Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young, when first hatched, is dark colored 
above, varying from Trout's brown' or 'verona brown' to 'bister,' darkest on the 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [ 171 ] 

crown and rump; the throat and cheeks, below the lores and the eyes, are white; the 
under parts are grayish white centrally, shading off on the flanks into the color of 
the upper parts; the bill is broadly tipped with dull yellow." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 
17.00-2.1.50, wing 8.75-9.50, bill 1.65-1.80." (Bailey) Nest: "The nest is described 
as made of down in a tussock of grass." (Bent) Eggs: 6 to 10, varying from "light 
buff" to "cartridge buff." (Bent) 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands to James Bay 
and Newfoundland. Winters south to New Jersey, Great Lakes, and California. 
In Oregon: Regular but uncommon visitor to coast, most frequently found in winter. 
Occasional individuals remain throughout summer. 

THE AMERICAN SCOTER is much the rarest species in the great rafts of 
scoters found off the Oregon coast throughout the year. It is difficult to 
identify as there are no distinctive field marks whatever. The lack of 
white head or wing markings would seem to make it easy to distinguish 
the adult males, but the White-winged Scoter frequently folds its wings 
in such a manner as to render its white spots invisible. Newberry (1857) 
reported the American Scoter as common on the Oregon coast, the first 
published reference to the species for the State. Bendire (1877) recorded 
it as not uncommon at Malheur Lake, surely a confusion with some other 
species, as no other observer has found this seafowl in Oregon inland 
waters. Woodcock (1902.) listed it as a rare winter visitor to Yaquina 
Bay, a statement that correctly describes its present status on the Oregon 
coast. There are two specimens in the University of Oregon collection 
(from the coast of Lane County), four in the Jewett collection (one from 
Tillamook, one from Lincoln, and two from Curry Counties), and two in 
the Gabrielson collection (from Lincoln County). All of these specimens 
were taken between November 2.4 and February 2.3. In addition, we both 
have a number of winter sight records taken when favorable conditions 
allowed positive identification, and we believe the species to be a regular 
but not common winter visitor. A single adult male was noted by 
Gabrielson off Depoe Bay on May 7, 1932.. It flew by the boat at close 
range, permitting certain identification. We have only one summer speci- 
men, a dead bird found at Newport on July 2.1, 192.2.. On the same day, 
three other scoters that were feeding on the Newport sewer outlet on 
Yaquina Bay were under observation for an hour at a distance of a few 

Ruddy Duck; Wire-Tail; Pintail: 

Erismatura jamaicensis rubida (Wilson) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill short and widest near end, bright blue in adult male. Adult 
male: top and back of head black ; neck and rest of upper parts chestnut; cheeks and 
chin white; belly gray, washed with silvery white, or sometimes rusty. Female and 
immature: upper parts plain grayish brown; sides of head whitish with a dusky streak 
from corner of mouth to back of ear; under parts gray, washed with silvery white 
or rusty." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young, when first hatched, is a 


large, fat, awkward, and helpless looking creature, covered with long coarse down, 
which on the upper parts is mixed with long hair-like filaments, longest and 
coarsest on the rump and thighs. The upper parts are 'drab' or 'hair brown," deep- 
ening to Trout's brown' or 'mummy brown* on the crown and rump, with two 
whitish rump patches, one above each thigh; the brown of the head extends below 
the eyes to the lores and auriculars, a broad band of grayish white separating this 
from a poorly defined malar stripe of 'drab'; the under parts are mostly grayish 
white, shading into the darker colors on the sides and into an indistinct collar of 
'drab' on the lower neck." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 13.50-16.00, wing 5.75-6.00, bill 
1.50-1.60." (Bailey) Nest: A mass of reeds built well on, but above the water 
level, usually concealed in thick masses of tules or other aquatic vegetation. Eggs: 
Up to 19 or 10, usually 6 to 10, large for size of bird, dull white or creamy white. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from central British Columbia, Alberta, and north- 
ern Manitoba south to Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, 
and Lower California. Winters south to West Indies and Central America. In 
Oregon: Permanent resident. Breeds in Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties (perhaps 
others). Winters on coast and wherever open water is found inland. 

THE SQUARELY BUILT, heavy-bodied little Ruddy Duck, with the absurd 
habit of carrying its stubby tail cocked over its back in a wrenlike manner, 
was first recorded from the State by Mearns (1879), fro m Fort Klamath, 
and since then it has been recorded by most naturalists who have written 
about Oregon birds. It was formerly a common summer resident and 
breeder in the inland lake country of southern Oregon, where numerous 
observers have reported it breeding (Furber, Fawcett, Lewis, Prill, 
Gabrielson, and Jewett), but in common with other inland nesting species 
it has decreased alarmingly since 1930. It is still fairly common in the 
coastal waters, where it is frequently known as "Pintail," to the con- 
fusion of the hunters who have applied that name to Dafila acuta away 
from the coast. We find it common on the coast from September to 
March (earliest date, September 16, Douglas County; latest, March 2., 
Lincoln County). It frequents not only the salt-water bays but the 
coastal lakes as well, being the most abundant species found on Devils 
Lake. It is also found more or less regularly in the Willamette Valley 
wherever suitable water occurs. We have numerous winter records for 
Klamath County. 

Many times during the fall, usually in November, when they are 
present on Devils Lake in little flocks of from 4 to 12., Gabrielson has 
watched these ducks apparently playing a game. When the lake is like 
a mirror, its surface broken only by the wakes of the waterfowl, one of 
these little flocks will arrange itself in single file each tail perfectly 
cocked forward over each back and each head thrown back and the 
entire file will swim sedately on until suddenly the leader dives, to be 
followed down by each succeeding individual as it reaches the spot. They 
reappear in the same fashion, the leader breaking water and swimming 
onward at the same speed as before, to be followed single file by the others 
at regular intervals as they emerge from the water. The entire perfor- 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [ 173 ] 

mance has a mechanical air about it, as if they were all on a string manip- 
ulated by some unseen power. 

While on the coast, the birds often feed on mollusks and other aquatic 
life until their flesh becomes strong and unpalatable. Consequently, they 
are not sought as game as ardently as are some of the more palatable 

Hooded Merganser: 

Lophodytes cucullatus (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill narrow, slender, and with terminal part cylindrical, armed 
along edges of mandibles with blunt, scarcely inclined teeth; head with high thin, 
wheel-shaped crest, less prominent in female. Adult male: Head, neck, and back 
black; middle of crest and under parts, white; sides light brown, finely cross-lined 
with black. Adult female: upper parts grayish brown, browner on crest; patch on 
wing, throat, and belly white. Young: similar to female, but with little or no 
crest." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young is thickly and warmly clothed 
with soft down in deep, rich shades of 'bister' or 'sepia' above, including the upper 
half of the head, the hind neck, and the flanks; the sides of the head, neck, and 
cheeks, up to the eyes, are 'buff pink' or 'light vinaceous cinnamon,' the chin, 
throat, and underparts are pure white; and there is an obscure dusky band across the 
chest and an indistinct white spot on each side of the scapular region and rump." 
(Bent) Si%e: "Length 17. 2.5-19. 2.5, wing 7.50-7.90, bill 1.50." (Bailey) Nest: In 
hollow trees, lined with grass and down. Eggs: 6 to 18, usually 10 to 12., pure 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Temperate North America from southeastern Alaska, Brit- 
ish Columbia, northern Manitoba, Ontario, and Labrador south to Oregon, Nevada, 
northern New Mexico, Arkansas, Tennessee, and central Florida. Winters from 
northern States to Cuba and Mexico. In Oregon: Year-around resident, most 
abundant west of Cascades. 

THE LITTLE HOODED MERGANSER, or "Fish Duck," ranks with the Wood 
Duck and the Western Harlequin Duck in sheer beauty. The lovely black 
and white crest and dainty shape of the male make an exceedingly beauti- 
ful display, and the females have the same soft beauty as the hens of the 
other two species mentioned. The species was first recorded for the State 
by Townsend (1839). Bendire (1877) listed it from Malheur, and Mearns 
(1879) from Fort Klamath. Johnson (1880) and Anthony (1886) both 
found it in the Willamette Valley. Although found over a wide territory 
in Oregon, it is not seen as frequently as is either of the other two species, 
and we do not regard it as quite as abundant. It remains as a year-around 
resident and is most common west of the Cascades, where it is found along 
the smaller streams, near which it nests in hollow trees. The nest is lined 
with grass, and the eggs are covered with soft down. We have no actual 
egg dates from Oregon, a gap that must be filled by later workers. 

Many observers have written of seeing this and other tree-nesting ducks 
bring their young to the water, and it is quite generally agreed that the 


young flutter down from their lofty perches without injury. The young 
birds are light, fluffy, and exceedingly elastic, and even when coming 
down from a tree 40 or 50 feet high apparently suffer no harm. Occa- 
sionally observers have reported seeing the young carried to the water 
in the beak of the parent birds, but this is certainly not the usual prac- 
tice. Perhaps such a means of transportation is reserved for those living 
in the topmost stories and apartments. 

We have no data on the food of this species while in Oregon waters, 
but data from other territories do not indicate that its diet is greatly 
different from that of other mergansers. It feeds on small fish, crustaceans, 
and water insects and is not abundant enough to have any appreciable 
effect on any valuable aquatic forms. 

American Merganser: 

Mergus merganser americanus Cassin 

DESCRIPTION. " Adult male: Head and short crest black glossed with green; shoulders 
black; wing black, with white in middle; rump and tail gray; neck and sides white; 
breast creamy white or pale salmon. Adult female: head, neck, and long thin crest 
light brown; rest of upper parts bluish gray, except white patch on middle of wing; 
chin and breast white." (Bailey) Downy young: "Downy young mergansers are 
beautiful creatures; the upper parts, including the crown, down to the lores and 
eyes, hind neck, and back, are rich, deep 'bister' or 'warm sepia,' relieved by the 
white edging of the wing and a large white spot on each side of the rump; the sides 
of the head and neck are 'mikado brown' or 'pecan brown,' shading off on the neck 
to 'light vinaceous cinnamon' or 'buff pink'; a pure white stripe extends from the 
lores to a point below the eyes and it is bordered above and below by dark brown 
stripes; the rest of the lower parts are pure white." (Bent) Si%e: "Male, length 
2.5-2.7, wing 10.50-11.2.5, bill i. 90-1.10. Female: length 11-14, w i n g 9-609.75, bill 
1.80-1.00." (Bailey) Nest: In hollow trees or on the ground, eggs protected in 
either case with down from the female's breast. Eggs: 6 to 17, usually 9 to n, 
pale buffy. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Canada and northern States south to central Ver- 
mont, New Hampshire, New York, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, and in 
western mountain ranges south to northern New Mexico, Arizona, and central 
California. In Oregon: Breeds on all larger streams. Winters throughout State on 
all open waters. 

THE AMERICAN MERGANSER, or Goosander, widely known to sportsmen 
and out-of-door people in Oregon as the "Fish Duck," or "Sawbill," was 
first listed from Oregon by Townsend (1839) and since then has often been 
mentioned from one part of the State or another. It is among the most 
beautiful of Oregon waterfowl, and the big, handsomely marked males, 
with their green heads and brilliant scarlet bills, are very conspicuous in 
comparison with the much smaller, trimly built females, with their dainty 
brownish-red crests. It is a permanent resident throughout the State on 
all the larger lakes and streams that do not freeze over during the winter. 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [175] 

It is much more common on the fresh waters than on salt water, and the 
similar-appearing females found on the bays and salt waters are largely 
of the species next discussed. One of the spots in Oregon where we have 
enjoyed seeing these birds, either from the train or from the highway, is 
along the Wallowa River. This river is a famous resort for mergansers, 
particularly during the winter, and one seldom makes a trip through the 
river canyon without seeing numbers of them. 

These mergansers are among the most interesting of all Oregon water- 
fowl. Wonderfully skilled in the water, their big powerful paddles drive 
them through the waters of the swift streams with speed enough to catch 
any of the finny denizens. They are rather clumsy on land and usually 
do not venture far from the water's edge. They are also rather heavy of 
body, and the large males frequently have difficulty in launching them- 
selves into the air, pattering along the surface much after the manner of 
coots until they obtain momentum enough to rise. Once in the air, they 
are strong, rapid flyers. 

During March and April, observers are occasionally fortunate enough 
to see the courtship antics when two or more of the brilliantly colored 
males display to the best advantage their various plumage markings for 
the benefit of the female, who usually appears entirely indifferent until 
she selects the favored suitor. After the young are grown it is quite 
common to see family parties consisting of i to 10 females, or young in 
the female plumage, to every adult male. 

The species nests along the swifter streams and about the shores of the 
larger lakes throughout the State, building its nest either in a hollow- 
tree or on the ground. In the latter case, the nest is usually well hidden 
in grass or other debris or placed under the sheltering boughs of some 
bush or tree. The eggs, pale buff in color, usually number about 10 or 12.. 
Like many other ducks, this one protects and shields its eggs with down 
plucked from the breast of the female. In late June or early July, the 
female can be seen leading her little fleet of downy chicks along the 
shores of the home body of water. These chicks are among the most 
beautiful of all waterfowl, the dark biscuit brown of their backs con- 
trasting beautifully with the pure white under parts. 

Fishermen and sportsmen frequently condemn these birds as voracious 
destroyers of trout and other game fish. When they get into hatchery 
ponds or into shallow pools where game fish are confined, the mergansers 
undoubtedly do considerable damage to the fish. At other times they 
feed largely on trash or slow-moving fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic 
life. There is at present no evidence to show that this species greatly 
harms the food or game fish of this State. It is not an abundant bird, 
although widely distributed. A few are usually to be found on each 
stream, and it is very questionable whether they do not do more good 
by eating spawn-eating fish than harm by any incidental destruction of 


game fish. We have very few data on Oregon stomachs on which to base 
an estimate, and stomach examinations by the Biological Survey over 
the entire area of the United States show that this species is not par- 
ticularly destructive to game fish. 

Red-breasted Merganser: 

Mergus senator Linnaeus 

DESCRIPTION. ''Adult male: Head and crest black, glossed with green; neck white; 
back black; middle of wings white; rump gray; chest buffy brown, streaked with 
blackish; belly white or creamy; sides gray. Adult female: head and neck brown, 
darker and duller on crown and crest; rest of upper parts and tail slaty gray, except 
for white patch on wings; under parts white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy 
young red-breasted merganser is exactly like the young American merganser except 
for two very slight differences in the head; the nostrils in the red-breasted are in the 
basal third of the bill, whereas in the American they are in the central third; and the 
white loral stripe is tinged with brownish or buffy, but with a more or less distinct 
white spot under the eye." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 2.0-2.5, wing 8.60-9.00, bill about 
1.50." (Bailey) Nest: On the ground, usually near the water, well concealed by 
weeds, shrubs, or trees, and lined with down. Eggs: 8 to 10, olive buff. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in northern portion of northern hemisphere south in 
North America to Newfoundland, northern New York, central Michigan, Wiscon- 
sin, and Minnesota, southern Manitoba, and southern British Columbia. Winters 
mainly on coasts of United States. In Oregon: Abundant winter resident on all 
coastal bays and river mouths from November until May. 

FIRST REPORTED by Lewis and Clark (1814) from the mouth of the Colum- 
bia on March 2.7, 1806, the Red-breasted Merganser is now known as a 
winter bird on all the larger bays and river mouths along the coast, 
where it replaces the American Merganser, which is abundant over the 
fresh waters of the State. It arrives in November and remains until early 
May (our earliest date, November zx; latest, May 2.3, both Tillamook 
County), during which time it may be seen either as single birds or in 
little flocks. All Oregon specimens that we have been able to obtain 
have come from the coastal district, and so far as we know the species 
is at best only a casual visitor to the interior. Bendire (1877) and Merrill 
(1888) recorded it from Fort Klamath, and Bendire (1877) from the Blue 
Mountains. Although the adult males can be distinguished easily in life, 
it is possible to tell the young males and all females only by specimens 
in hand. We feel, therefore, that many of the Red-breasted Mergansers 
reported on sight observation from Malheur and Klamath basins are in 
reality the American Merganser. 

Like its larger relative, previously discussed, the Red-breasted Mer- 
ganser, is rather clumsy on land and in launching itself into the air, but 
once aloft is a swift, strong flyer. Either in or under the water, it is an 
expert of the first rank, being able to pursue and capture small fish and 
other aquatic life with ease. The strikingly marked males, with their red 

DUCKS, GEESE, AND SWANS: Family Anatidae [177] 

breasts and brilliant green crests, contrasting beautifully with their bril- 
liant red bills, are among the handsomest of American birds. The females 
are very much like those of the American Merganser and can be distin- 
guished from them only by the position of the nostril on the bill. In 
this species, the nostril is in the basal third of the bill, close to the feather- 
ing, whereas in the American Merganser it is in the central third of the 
bill, approximately halfway between the feathering and the tip. This 
characteristic will distinguish the bird in any plumage. 

This species, like the preceding, is able to capture almost any kind of 
fish present in the waters that it frequents. Stomach examinations show, 
however, that trash fish make up a large percentage of the diet in other 
sections of the United States, and we have no reason to believe that it 
would be different in this territory. In any event, the birds are so few 
in numbers in Oregon that they can have little effect on the abundance 
of valuable fish, and we can well afford to contribute the few fish that 
they take in return for the pleasure that many persons get from seeing 

[i 7 8 


Oraer Ira Leonid 


Vultures: family Cathartidae 

Turkey Vulture: 

Cathartes aura septentrionalis Wied 

DESCRIPTION. "Whole head and upper part of neck naked, the skin corrugated and 
sparingly bristled; nostrils large, elliptical; wings long, pointed, folding co or beyond 
the short round tail. Adults: bead bare and crimson in life, bill white; lores and top 
of head sometimes with wart-like papillae; neck and under parts dull black; upper 
parts blackish glossed with green and purple, feathers broadly edged with grayish 
brown, secondaries edged with gray; shafts of quills and tail feathers varying from 
pale brown to yellowish white. Young: like adults, but bill and naked skin black- 
ish, brownish margins to wing coverts less distinct [Plate 2.6]. Length: 2-6~3Z, 
extent about 6 feet, wing 2.0-2.3, tail n-ix, bill i." (Bailey) Nest: None, eggs laid 
in a cave, old stump, or hollow log. Eggs: Usually i, white to greenish white, or 
buff, splotched and speckled with brown and gray. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From southern British Columbia, central Alberta, Saskatch- 
ewan, Manitoba, Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario, New York, and Connecticut 
south to Gulf coast and northern Mexico. Winters from Connecticut, Ohio Valley, 
Nebraska, and California. In Oregon: Common summer resident and breeding bird 
throughout State except in highest parts of mountains. Arrives in March and 
remains until late September. 

THE TURKEY VULTURE, or Turkey Buzzard, master of the airways, is a 
familiar sight almost everywhere in Oregon as it sails and glides on 
effortless pinions, taking advantage of every variation of wind and air 
currents to sustain itself in the air. On still days it can be seen making 
use of rising columns of air, swinging about in steadily mounting circles 
until the desired altitude is reached and then gliding away like a dark 
airplane. It can be distinguished from all other Raptores in the State by 
its naked head and neck, uniform dark color, and the silvery lining of 
its wings conspicuously displayed in flight. 

Townsend (1839) first listed it from territory that is now Oregon, and 
Bendire (1877) found it breeding in Harney County. From April to 
September, it is the most commonly seen bird of prey in the State, though 
it may not be more abundant than some that do not so persistently adver- 
tise their presence. Our earliest record is February 16, Coos County; our 
latest, October 7, Polk County. Prill (iS^ib and iSc^a) stated that it 
wintered in Linn County, but no other observers have reported it in 
the winter. Eggs are laid from May to July in caves, old stumps, hollow 
logs, and similar places. Jewett found a nest in Harney County, May n, 


19x3, containing two fresh eggs, and Patterson reported egg dates from 
May 2. to June 10 in Klamath and Jackson Counties. 

The Turkey Buzzard lives on carrion that it finds by searching the 
landscape from a vantage point high in the air. There has been a great 
deal of controversy as to whether sight alone is used in locating the food 
supply or sight aided by a keen sense of smell. 

California Condor: 

Gymnogyfs calif ornianus (Shaw) 

DESCRIPTION. "Wing 30 or more; head and entire neck bare, skin smooth; plumage 
of under parts lanceolate or pencillate; head much elongated, forehead flattened; 
nostril small, its anterior end acute; bill small, mandibles broader than deep; wings 
folding to or beyond end of square tail. Adults: head and neck bare, yellow, or 
orange in life; bill whitish or pale yellowish, plumage sooty blackish; outer webs 
of greater wing coverts and secondaries grayish, wing coverts tipped with white 
and outer secondaries edged with white; axillars and under wing coverts pure white. 
Young: like adults, but neck more or less covered with sooty grayish down, bill and 
naked skin blackish; brown edgings of feathers of upper parts producing a scaled 
effect; white of under wings and gray webbing of coverts and secondaries wanting. 
Length: 44-55, extent 8^2 to nearly n feet; weight 2.0-2.5 pounds, wing 30-35, tail 
15-18, bill 1.50." (Bailey) Nesf: None, eggs laid in rocky caves or in decaying 
stumps or logs. Eggs: i or z, greenish white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: At present restricted to Coast Ranges from San Benito 
County, California, to Los Angeles County and northern Lower California. Formerly 
reported to Columbia River. In Oregon: Extinct, but reported by early ornithologists. 

LEWIS AND CLARK (1814) wrote that the California Condor (Plate 2.7, A) 
was "not rare" near the mouth of the Columbia, November 30, 1805, and 
January i, 1806; that it was abundant at Deer Island, March 2.8, 1806; 
and that it was seen again in Oregon, April 4, 1806. Douglas (182.8) shot 
a male and female "in latitude 45.30.15., longitude," which is 
near Multnomah Falls. Townsend (1839) listed it for the territory. 
Newberry (1857) reported it as "rare and not seen by us." Suckley did 
not see it, although on a constant lookout for it; but Cooper reported 
that in January 1854 he saw a bird that he was certain was this species 
(Cooper and Suckley 1860). He made a number of trips up and down the 
Columbia in the 50*8 but found only the one bird. Cooper stated: 

The Californian Vulture visits the Columbia river in fall, when its shores are lined with 
great numbers of dead salmon, on which this and other vultures, besides crows, ravens, and 
many quadrupeds, feast for a couple of months. 

Barnston (1860) gave a detailed account of the capture of a California 
Vulture at Fort Vancouver in the spring of 182.7 and told of the great joy 
with which Douglas received it. This interesting bit of early history was 
later quoted by Fleming (192.4). 

All the numerous subsequent references to the California Vulture as an 

KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Accipitriidae [ 181 ] 

Oregon species rest on the observations of those quoted above, except 
the account of Finley (icpSa), who referred to two at Drain about July 4, 
1903, and four in March 1904. These birds were observed by George and 
Henry Peck, both familiar with the condor in California and both good 
ornithologists, who further stated that one was killed on the coast of 
southern Oregon. It is impossible that these observers, all keen and 
experienced naturalists, could have been mistaken, but the condor, if 
ever common in this State, seems to have become rare or almost com- 
pletely extinct between Douglas' visit and the time of the Pacific Railway 
Surveys. Jewett has talked to several well-informed woodsmen who 
described accurately to him condors seen in southern Oregon at about 
the time of the Peck observation, and it seems highly probable that two 
or more of these big birds strayed into southern Oregon, perhaps to 
remain for some time. 

Kites, Hawks, and Eagles: Family Accipitriidae 

White-tailed Kite: 

Elanus leucurus majusculus Bangs and Penard 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill rather weak and compressed; feet very small; tarsus feathered 
half way down in front, and below covered with minute roundish scales; claws not 
grooved beneath; hind toe very short, claws all small and little curved; wings 
nearly or about twice as long as tail, pointed, first and second quills emarginate, the 
feathers broad, obtuse at tips. Adults: under parts white, upper parts plain bluish 
gray, except for white top of head and tail, and black patches around eye and on shoulders. 
Young: resembling adults, but tinged with rusty, extensively on under parts; upper 
parts indistinctly streaked; wing feathers tipped with white; tail with an indistinct 
subterminal band. Length: 15.15-16.75, wing 11.50-13.30, tail 5.90-7.40, bill 
.65-. 80." (Bailey) Nest: Of twigs, lined with grasses and other dried vegetation. 
Eggs: 3 to 5, white, heavily marked with red and brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeding bird in California valleys, Texas, Oklahoma, and 
Florida. In Oregon: Rare straggler, on basis of statements below. 

JEWETT (1933), who spent his boyhood years in California and who at 
that time was thoroughly familiar with the White-tailed Kite, has pub- 
lished a note in the Murrelet that reads as follows: 

Some eight or ten years ago, Mr. Ben Hur Lampman, editorial writer of the Portland 
Oregonian, while fishing at Blue Lake in the Columbia River flats a few miles east of Port- 
land, Oregon, saw a bird which he described accurately, and it could be none other than the 
White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus}. Mr. Lampman was positive of this at the time and his 
description certainly verified his identification of the bird in life. No mention of this incident 
appeared in any of the ornithological journals. 

On February 2.3, 1933, while I was on the Honeyman estate near Scappoose, Oregon, on 
the Columbia River bottoms some 2.0 miles west of Portland, with Game Protector Chester 
Leichhardt, one of these birds was seen at close range by both of us. We made careful obser- 



KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Ace ipitriidae [183] 

vations, both with and without eight-power binoculars, at a distance as close as 30 yards. 
The bird was kept under observation for at least half an hour. 

Although I am opposed to publishing sight records under ordinary circumstances, I feel 
justified in recording the occurrence of this bird, as I am thoroughly familiar with the species 
in life from my boyhood experiences in California and have had opportunity to handle many 
skins and mounted specimens of the White-tailed Kite. 

Under these circumstances, I do not hesitate to place on record the occurrence of this Kite 
in Oregon. 

We have known Ben Hur Lampman for many years as a keen and 
accurate observer and have no reason to doubt that he actually saw a 
White-tailed Kite on Blue Lake. Jewett's thorough field knowledge of 
western birds makes it impossible that he could have been mistaken in 
his identification of so conspicuous a bird. On the basis of these inci- 
dents, we are therefore admitting the species to the Oregon list, although 
we are ordinarily opposed to such additions on the basis of sight records. 


Astur atricapillus (Wilson) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bare portion of leg in front shorter than middle toe; wing more 
than 12. inches. Adults: under parts with whitish ground, uniformly covered with 
finely penciled gray ^ig^ags, touched up with dark shaft streaks; upper parts dark bluish 
gray, with black shaft streaks, and becoming black on head; tail bluish gray, more 
or less tipped with white and crossed by about four dusky bands, sometimes obsolete 
on the upper surface. Young: upper parts dull brown, head and neck streaked with 
buffy salmon, and rest of upper parts spotted and edged with pale buffy and whitish; 
under parts bright buffy, broadly streaked with dark brown. Male: Length 11.00, 
wing 11.00-13.2.5, tail 9.50-10.50. Female: Length 2.4.50, wing 13.50-14.15, tail 
1 1.50-11. 75." (Bailey) Nest: A bulky mass of twigs, placed well up in a tall tree, 
usually lined with finer grass and vegetable fibers. Eggs: 2. to 5, pale bluish white. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in boreal zones from Alaska, Mackenzie, Manitoba, 
Ontario, northern Quebec, and Newfoundland south to northern United States and 
southward along Allegheny Mountains to Pennsylvania and Maryland and in west- 
ern ranges to central California, Arizona, and New Mexico. In Oregon: Permanent 
resident of Cascades and Blue Mountains. Apt to be found anywhere in State in fall 
and winter. 

THE FIRST Oregon record of the striking Goshawk is that of Cassin (Baird, 
Cassin, and Lawrence 1858) at The Dalles, March 8, 1854. Newberry 
(1857) also found it, Mearns (1879) mentioned one taken by Henshaw 
at Fort Klamath on August 31, 1878, and Brewster and Merrill recorded 
a specimen from the same point, March n, 1887 (Merrill 1888). Wood- 
cock (1901) listed it from Scio, Beaverton, and Corvallis, the first western 
Oregon localities reported. 

Bendire (1892.) listed four nests found by him. One taken May 2.6, 
1875, i n tne vicinity of Camp Harney contained two newly hatched 
young and an egg already chipped. Two others, taken April 18, 1876, 
and April 9, 1877, contained eggs, as did the fourth, taken April 17, 1881, 


in a canyon of the Blue Mountains. Dr. W. B. Bell, while with the 
writers, shot a female on Hart Mountain, June 15, 192.6, that had a well- 
developed incubation patch, and Gabrielson found a nest with young on 
the Klamath Indian Reservation in June 1933. 

We had numbers of skins collected at all seasons of the year, including 
several breeding birds from both eastern and western Oregon, and we had 
also a number of eastern birds with which to compare them. The char- 
acters supposed to separate the two subspecies were present in individual 
skins, but after long study we were not able to correlate such variations 
with any geographical range. Rather, they seemed distinctly to be cor- 
related with age. In order to check our conclusions, we sent about a 
dozen of our birds to the National Museum in Washington for comparison. 
We then learned that Dr. Friedmann of that institution had already 
reached the same conclusion; namely, that there were not two geo- 
graphical races of Goshawk. Our specimens only added further evidence 
to what he already possessed. His conclusions, based on much more 
material than ours, will undoubtedly appear in print before our state- 
ment does, so it seems unnecessary to elaborate further on the point. 

The Goshawk is the largest and fiercest of the hawks of its group, 
which includes those other bird killers, the Sharp-shinned and Cooper's 
Hawks. It lives largely on birds, being a persistent enemy of grouse and 
pheasants. When the Blue and Ruffed Grouse take their broods to the 
ridges in the late summer it is often possible to find a Goshawk sitting 
on an inconspicuous perch in the thickest part of a tree waiting to take 
advantage of the slightest let-down in the vigilance of the feeding covey. 
If the Goshawk were more abundant, it might be to some limited extent 
the factor in holding down grouse populations for which it receives the 
blame among sportsmen. It is one of the rarer hawks of the State, how- 
ever, and if the few breeding pairs remaining were to live throughout 
the year on grouse, quail, and pheasants, the effect would not be noticeable. 

Sharp-shinned Hawk: 

Accipiter velox velox (Wilson) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Under parts white, heavily barred and spotted with 
reddish brown; upper parts nearly uniform bluish gray; tail even or slightly notched with 
three or four narrow blackish bands, and narrow white tip. Adult female: similar, 
but duller, less blue above, less reddish below. Young: upper parts dark brown, 
edged with rusty and with hints of white spotting; under parts white, often tinged 
with buffy, streaked vertically with brown; sides and flanks barred with reddish 
brown. Male: length 10.00-11.50, wing 6.10-7.10, tail 5.80-6.10. Female: length 
11.50-14.00, wing 7.80-8.80, tail 6.60-8.10." (Bailey) Nest: Usually an old crow's, 
magpie's, or squirrel's nest. Eggs: 4 to 5, greenish or grayish white, ,heavily 
blotched and spotted with brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska, Mackenzie, Manitoba, Ontario, Que- 
bec, and Labrador south to northern Florida, Gulf coast, and central California. 

KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Accipitriidae [185] 

Winters from southern Alaska, British Columbia, Montana, Minnesota, Great 
Lakes, New York, and central New England south to Central America. In Oregon: 
Common permanent resident in all parts. 

THE SPEEDY little Sharp-shinned Hawk is much more abundant than most 
casual observers suspect, as its habit of doing its hunting by short dashes 
from a concealed perch in a tree often allows it to escape observation. 
It was first recorded for the State by Bendire (1877) ^ rom Camp Harney, 
and both Mearns (1879) an d Merrill (1888) listed it from Fort Klamath. 
Anthony (1886) considered it common in Washington County, and Wood- 
cock (1902.) listed it from various localities in western Oregon. In our 
records it appears to be of equal abundance throughout the wooded areas. 
It undoubtedly nests throughout the State, although records of the actual 
finding of nests are rare. Bendire (1892.) obtained a set of five eggs on 
May 18, 1883, near Fort Klamath; Jewett found a completed nest and 
collected the female with a fully developed egg in an ovary on May 16, 
1914, at Vida (Lane County); and Gripentrog (19x9) collected a set of 
eggs near Salem on May 2.2., 192.8. 

The resemblance of this hawk to the larger Cooper's Hawk is very 
close in comparable plumages, and a large female Sharp-shinned Hawk 
might easily be confused with a male Cooper's Hawk in either immature 
or adult plumage. If a clear view can be obtained in flight, the shape of 
the tail furnishes a good field identification mark. In this species, the 
outer tail feathers are about the same length as the central ones, so that the 
tail has a square appearance, while the tail of Cooper's Hawk looks 
rounded when spread enough to show the shorter outer feathers. 

The Sharp-shinned Hawk is one of the few really destructive species. 
It feeds habitually on small birds, young chickens, and probably young 
game birds and because of its comparative abundance is undoubtedly the 
most destructive hawk in the State. 

Cooper's Hawk: 

Acci-piter cooperi (Bonaparte) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Under parts white, heavily spotted and barred with 
reddish brown- top of bead black contrasted with bluish gray of back; tail rounded, 
with 3 or 4 black bands and narrow white tip. Adult female: upper parts duller and 
less bluish than in male; top of head more brownish black; hind neck and sides of 
head washed with dull rusty. Young: upper parts dark brown, with rusty edgings 
and suggestion of white spotting; under parts streaked vertically. Male: length 
14-17, wing 8.85-9.40, tail 7.80-8.30. Female: length i8-zo, wing, tail 
9.00-10.50." (Bailey) Nest: Usually an old crow's, hawk's, or squirrel's nest. 
Eggs: 4 to 5, bluish or greenish white, either with or without scrawls of brown or 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Canada to northern Mexico. Winters 
from British Columbia, Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio Valley, and New England south 
to Central America. In Oregon: Regular permanent resident throughout State. 



KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Accipitriidae [187] 

COOPER'S HAWK (Plate 2.7, B), the larger cousin of the Sharp-shinned 
Hawk, is not quite so abundant in Oregon as that species but, like it, 
can be found throughout the wooded sections. This little falcon has a 
different flight than other hawks. It is able to move rapidly and turn 
quickly with its short, blunt wings. Although it does not appear to be 
traveling fast, the quick flaps of the powerful wings, alternating with 
short periods of soaring, really carry it through the air at an exceedingly 
rapid rate of speed. It was first listed by Townsend (1839) and was 
recorded by Newberry (1857), Heermann (1859), and Suckley (1860), 
who were connected with the Pacific Railway Surveys in this territory. 
As noted for the preceding species, nests are rarely reported, as it is diffi- 
cult to find them in the huge firs and spruces that comprise so much of 
the forests, particularly in western Oregon. Hadley (Woodcock 1901) 
found eggs near Dayton in an old crow's nest 85 feet up in a fir tree, and 
Jew r ett discovered a nest near Minthorn (Milwaukie), Clackamas County, 
May 2.1, 1909, containing 4 eggs. Patterson collected eggs near Pinehurst, 
Jackson County, on May 10, and June 2., 192.1. 

This bird-killing hawk, known as the "Blue Darter" and "Chicken 
Hawk," is another of the few species in the State that is almost con- 
sistently destructive, living to a large extent on poultry, game, and 
insectivorous birds. In hunting, it selects as vantage point a low perch, 
frequently on a limb near the center of the tree. There it waits patiently 
until a bird comes within striking distance and then captures it by a 
short, quick dash. Gabrielson, when living on Powell Valley Road, lost 
some thirty baby chickens to a Cooper's Hawk that would sit concealed 
in a thick growth of firs until a chick came close. Then the marauder 
would dash out, seize its prey, and swing out of sight around the trees 
so quickly that unless one had been looking closely it would never have 
been seen. These raids took place at irregular intervals, and it required 
several mornings of lying in ambush to dispose of the killer. 

Western Red-tailed Hawk: 

Buteo borealis calurus Cassin 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Varying greatly in plumage Light extreme: under parts 
white or buffy, with broad reddish brown streakings on throat, belly, and sides; tail 
bright reddish brown, with one or more subterminal blackish bars; rest of upper parts 
dark brown, more or less marked with yellowish brown and whitish. Dark ex- 
treme: uniform dark sooty brown except for rufous tail. Intermediates: reddish brown 
underneath, and with more or less reddish brown wash on upper parts. There are 
also all grades of plumage in this form between the light and dark extremes. Young: 
tail grayish brown varying to dull yellowish brown, crossed by 9 to 10 blackish 
bands; rest of plumage dark brown heavily spotted beneath, sometimes wholly 
dusky [Plate 18]. Male: length 19.00-11.50, extent of wings 49-53, wing 13.50- 
16.50, tail 8.50-10.00, bill .95-1.08. Female: length 13-15, extent 54.00-57.50, wing 
15.15-17.75, tail 9.50-10.50, bill 1.00-1.15." (Bailey) Nest: A. bulky mass of sticks, 


lined with roots or shredded bark and usually placed high up in a huge tree. Often 

used for years and gradually enlarged each year. Eggs: 2. or 3, creamy white, either 

unspotted or blotched and spotted with irregular marks of yellowish and reddish 


DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Alaska and central Mackenzie south 

to Lower California and east to Great Plains. Winters from southern Canada to 

Central America. In Oregon: Common permanent resident in every part. 

THE WESTERN RED-TAILED HAWK was first found in Oregon by Lewis and 
Clark (1814), who listed it from the mouth of the Columbia on November 
30, 1805, and it has been reported by every observer since. It is the only 
large Buteo found regularly in western Oregon, although some of the 
others may occasionally straggle into that part of the State. It is equally 
common in eastern Oregon but must share that country with the Fer- 
ruginous Rough-legged and Swainson's Hawks in summer and with the 
American Rough-legged Hawk in winter. In western Oregon, almost all 
of the large hawks seen sailing on set wings in ever-widening circles are 
this species, but in eastern Oregon careful identification is necessary. 
The best field mark, of course, is the red tail, which is often distinctly 
visible as the bird wheels and turns high overhead. The Red-tail has also 
a somewhat distinctive outline and a peculiar combination of black and 
white on the under side of the wings, but both of these characters can be 
learned only by long-continued field observation. Like all hawks of this 
genus, this species is quite variable in color, as it is particularly subject 
to melanism; that is, a darkening of the plumage throughout, which in 
extreme cases produces a dull black hawk with a red tail. The streaked 
young (Plate 2.8) also are exceedingly variable and are sometimes affected 
with this same darkening. 

The Red-tail begins nesting operations early, having been seen engaged 
in repairing nests in late March and early April. Our earliest date for eggs 
is March 15 (Wasco County); our latest, June 2.3 (Klamath County), 
most of the fresh or nearly fresh sets having been taken in late April and 
early May. Braly has taken many sets between March 31 and April 30 
in eastern Oregon, and Patterson found three fresh eggs in a nest near 
Spring Lake, Klamath County, on June 2.3, 192.9. 

Even though this hawk is largely a rodent eater, it is relentlessly 
persecuted by farmers and sportsmen, the former because of its supposed 
prowess as a "chicken hawk" and the latter out of the unreasoning 
belief that exists generally that all hawks spend their lives maliciously 
destroying game birds that should exist only for the benefit of those who 
hunt. In Oregon, there is little evidence to support such actions and 
much to the contrary. Three Western Red-tailed Hawks collected in 
Wallowa County in April and May 192.8 by George Rodgers, a State 
game warden, in the belief that the hawks were killing Hungarian 
Partridges, quail, and pheasants, were examined by the Biological Survey, 

KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Acctpitriidae [189] 

which found that two had fed exclusively on meadow mice (Microtus 
nanus canescens) and one on Columbian ground squirrels (Citellus colum- 
bianus^). This is the usual result of such examinations. 

Swainson's Hawk: 

Buteo swainsoni Bonaparte 

DESCRIPTION. ''Adult male in normal plumage: throat and belly white, white of throat 
sharply contrasted with reddish brown chest band; upper parts nearly uniform dark grayish 
brown; tail crossed by about 9 or 10 narrow blackish bands. Adult female in normal 
plumage: like male, but chest patch grayish brown instead of rufous. Melanistic 
phase, both sexes: whole plumage uniform sooty brown, under tail coverts sometimes 
spotted or barred with rusty or whitish. Every possible gradation is shown by 
different individuals between this black phase and the light colored normal plumage. 
Young: upper parts blackish brown varied with buffy or yellowish brown, head, 
neck, and under parts buffy brown, head and neck streaked with blackish; under 
parts usually more or less blotched with blackish. Male: length 19.50-10.00, 
extent 48.00-50.50, wing 14.40-16.00, tail 8-9, bill .80-. 90. Female: length 2.1-2.2., 
extent 50.50-56.00, wing 14.75-17.15, tail 9-10, bill .80-. 90." (Bailey) Nest: A 
bulky mass of sticks, lined with leaves and bark, usually in cottonwood or juniper. 
Eggs: i to 4, greenish white, sparingly spotted with brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia (east of Cascades), Fort 
Yukon, Great Slave Lake, and Manitoba south to Mexico. Winters in southern 
South America. In Oregon: Common summer resident in all counties east of Cas- 
cades. Arrives in March and remains until September. Occurs in western Oregon 
only as a straggler. 

SWAINSON'S HAWK was described from a specimen taken near Fort Van- 
couver, Washington, but at present is only a straggler anywhere west of 
the Cascades. There is a specimen in the Biological Survey collection, 
taken at Corvallis in 1899 by A. H. Higginson, and there is one in the 
University of Oregon collection from Lane County. The species was first 
reported from Oregon by Cassin (Baird, Cassin, and Lawrence 1858) as 
found in 1854, and Bendire (Brewer 1875) collected eggs in Harney Valley. 
Shelton (1917) considered it a breeding bird in the Willamette Valley, 
but we have no evidence to substantiate this statement. In eastern Ore- 
gon, where it has been one of the most abundant nesting raptorial birds, 
it can still be considered a common summer resident, despite a noticeable 
decrease in its numbers in recent years. Our earliest record is March n 
(Wasco County); and our latest, October 15 (Harney County). Like other 
hawks, this one has a marked variation of plumage. Melanism is quite 
common, and all variations of darkness are found, some of them being a 
curious chocolate color. The young birds are a peculiar buff tone beneath 
with longitudinal brown stripes quite unlike their parents. 

The favorite nesting site is one of the gnarled twisted junipers grow- 
ing in the sagebrush. There a bulky mass of sticks is built, sometimes 
close to the ground and usually not over 2.0 feet up. The nests are used 
for years if the birds are not molested, and the gradual accumulation of 


material frequently results in a huge structure. Eggs have been found by 
various collectors from April 2.1 to June 14. These include many records 
by Jewett and Braly. 

This big squirrel hawk is one of the most beneficial species in the State 
as it lives almost entirely on ground squirrels, mice, rabbits, and other 
rodents. The hawks often congregate about a squirrel-infested meadow, 
as many as 2.7 having been noted about a single small field (Gabrielson 
IC/LZC). Despite convincing evidence published and republished over a 
long period of time showing it to be preeminently a rodent destroyer, 
Swainson's Hawk is still subjected to the persistent persecution of every 
man and boy who carries a gun, the excuse being that it is a "chicken 
hawk. ' ' Two birds killed in Wallowa County in 192.8 by George Rodgers, 
the stomachs of which were examined by the Biological Survey, had eaten 
only rodents and insects. One stomach contained two meadow mice 
(JMdcfotus nanus canesceni) and one white-footed mouse (^Peromyscus mam- 
culatus); and the second stomach, one young Columbian ground squirrel 
(Citellus columbianus) and a number of stone flies (Plecoftera). 

American Rough-legged Hawk: 

Buteo lagopus sanctijohannis (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults, normal phase: Under parts varying from whitish to yellowish 
brown, more or less spotted with blackish, most heavily on breast; upper parts 
grayish brown or dark brown, streaked with white and reddish brown; tail with base 
and upper coverts white and end with subterminal dusky band; wing quills with outer 
webs silvery gray. Young, normal plumage: similar to adults, but end of tail plain 
grayish brown, the basal part plain whitish; under parts whitish or buffy, crossed 
on belly by a broad belt of uniform dark brown. Melanistic phase in both young and 
old connected with normal plumage by every variety of intermediate character 
entirely deep black except for white forehead, white on inner webs of quills above 
emargination, and narrow broken bands across base of tail. Male: length 19.50- 
Z2..00, wing 15.75-16.80, tail 9-10. Female: length 2.1.50-2.3.50, wing 16.15-18.00, 
tail 9-11." (Bailey) Nest: A bulky structure of sticks, lined with grass, leaves, or 
feathers. Eggs: 2. to 5, greenish white, irregularly blotched with brown and 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Aleutian Islands, Arctic Coast of Alaska, and 
Arctic islands south to Labrador, Quebec, and northern Alberta. Winters from 
southern Canada south to southern California, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and 
North Carolina. In Oregon: Regular and at times abundant migrant and somewhat 
less common winter resident of eastern Oregon that appears in October and remains 
until April. Rare straggler in western Oregon. 

THE AMERICAN ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK is easily distinguished in normal 
plumage by the dark band across the belly. Like many other hawks, it 
is exceedingly variable in plumage, and melanism of varying degrees is 
quite common. Townsend (1839) first reported it from Oregon, and 
Bendire (Brewer 1875) an< ^ Merrill (1888) both reported it as a common 
winter resident. It has since been recorded by other observers from various 

KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Accipitriidae [191] 

parts of eastern Oregon. It is most abundant in October, November, 
March, and April, but it is a particularly common winter resident of 
Harney Valley and of the irrigated areas along the Snake and Columbia 
Rivers. Our earliest record is September 2.4 (Harney County); and our 
latest, May 9 (Lake County). West of the Cascades it is a rare straggler, 
being known from two specimens only, one taken at Seaside, October 13, 
19x5 (Jewett i92_6a), and the second, at Netarts Bay, October 2.5, 192.5 
(Walker 192.6). 

While in the State as a migrant, as well as during the winter months, 
this hawk's favorite haunts are the irrigated meadows where an abund- 
ance of mice are normally available. These birds also show a marked 
tendency to congregate in areas where jack rabbits are numerous, among 
which are the sagebrush district of northern Morrow and Umatilla Coun- 
ties and the rolling sage-covered hills of northern Malheur and Harney 
Valleys. The hawks habitually sit on available telephone poles or fence 
posts and are so tame and unsuspicious that they are easily approached 
and many are killed by farmer boys or hunters after other game. In the 
meadows, they are found on similar perches or on the haystacks, from 
which vantage point they watch for some luckless rodent to come into 

Until about 1930, this was an exceedingly common winter resident in 
the eastern part of the State. Since that date there has been a great 
decrease in numbers. Coincident with this decrease has been an organized 
antihawk campaign by sportsmen in British Columbia, in which thou- 
sands of these harmless rodent-eating hawks have been slaughtered. 
Although no connection between these two events has been or can be 
demonstrated, they come suspiciously close together. 

Ferruginous Rough-leg: 

Buteo regalis (Gray) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults, normal phase: Under parts white, sometimes slightly streaked 
with brown; upper parts and flanks reddish brown; tail white, more or less stained with 
reddish brown, and sometimes marked with a subterminal band. Adults, melanistic 
phase: tail normal; upper parts chocolate brown, marked with rusty; under parts 
rusty and chocolate. Young: upper parts grayish brown, feathers edged with rusty 
or yellowish brown; flanks white, more or less spotted with dusky; tail whitish for 
basal third, the rest brownish gray, usually with several more or less distinct dark 
bands. Ma/e: length zi.5o, wing 15.90-17.00, tail 9.50-10.50. Female: length 2.4, 
wing 17.00-18.80, tail 10.50-11.00." (Bailey) Nest: Bulky mass of sticks, lined 
with dry vegetation, bark, and feathers (Plate 2.9, A). Eggs: z to 5, creamy or 
greenish white, irregularly marked with brown and lavender. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Alberta and Manitoba south to north- 
eastern California, Utah, southern Arizona, New Mexico, and Kansas. Winters 
from Montana and Oregon to Lower California and northern Mexico. In Oregon: 
Regular summer resident and breeding species in eastern Oregon. Much less common 
in winter. 


KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Accipitriidae [ 193 ] 

SUCKLEY (1860) reported the Ferruginous Rough-leg from Fort Dalles in 
December 1854. Bendire (1877) reported it from Camp Harney as rare. 
Woodcock (1902.) listed these two records but gave no additional infor- 
mation, though curiously enough he took a specimen ten miles south of 
Corvallis, November zx, 1902., just a few months after publishing his list. 
This specimen and a single bird by Jewett seen near Independence, January 
15, 1919, are the only two records for western Oregon. There are no 
other published references to it as an Oregon species prior to our own. 
We have found it to be a regular resident of eastern Oregon, most com- 
mon along the Columbia. We have summer records for Jefferson, Des- 
chutes, Malheur, and Wallowa Counties, and the species would probably 
be found in Grant, Wheeler, Union, and Baker Counties, if sufficient field 
work could be carried out. It is the largest and most striking Buteo 
known in the State and can be distinguished by the white tail and very 
light under parts, which stand in decided contrast to the reddish legs and 
lower belly. It flies more than the American Rough-legged Hawk and 
resembles the Western Red-tailed Hawk in its flight and hunting habits. 

In northern Morrow and Umatilla Counties, by year-to-year additions, 
these birds build huge nests of sticks and sagebrush, some of which will 
support a man. The nests are usually located in the low junipers that 
are characteristic of that area and are seldom more than 2.0 feet from the 
ground (Plate 2.9, A). Twenty-eight nests inspected in that territory and 
two in Harney County between April 3 and May 13 were found to con- 
tain from one to five eggs (mostly three to five). 

The Ferruginous Rough-leg is a persistent hunter of ground squirrels 
and rabbits and is known by a few farmers as the "Squirrel Hawk." In 
common with other large hawks of this group, it should be rigorously 
protected and not subjected to persecution. 

Golden Eagle: 

Aquila chrysaetos canadensis (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "A bird of great size, robust form, and powerful physique. Tarsus 
closely feathered all around to the toes, outer and middle toes webbed at base; bill 
large, long; wings long, pointed; tail moderate, rounded, or graduated; feathers of 
occiput and nape lanceolate. Sexes alike. Adults: whole bird dark brown, lance- 
olate feathers of hind neck and those on legs lighter brown; wing quills black; tail 
blackish, more or less clouded or irregularly banded with grayish. Young: like adult, 
but basal part of tail plain white, under parts white beneath the surface [Plate 30]. 
Male: length 30-35, extent about 6^ to 7 feet, wing 2.5.00-1.4.70, tail 14-15, bill 
1.50-1.61. Female: length 35-40, extent about 7 to 7^ feet, wing 15-2.7, tail 15.16, 
bill 1.68-1.85." (Bailey) Nest.- A bulky platform of sticks, lined with softer 
material, such as grass, feathers, or moss, usually (in Oregon) on a cliff, although 
occasionally in a big tree (Plate 2,9, B). Eggs: x, white or irregularly marked with 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from northern Alaska and northwestern Mackenzie 
south to Lower California, central Mexico, and Texas. In Oregon: Permanent resi- 


Plate 30. Young Golden Eagle. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Accipitriidae [195] 

dent of eastern Oregon, most abundant in the big sparsely settled counties of Mal- 
heur, Harney, and Lake, and in northern Morrow County. Only a straggler to 
western part of State. 

TOWNSEND (1839) first included the Golden Eagle, the most majestic of 
Oregon's raptorial birds, in a list applicable to the State. Cassin (1856) 
recorded it, and Bendire took eggs in 1877 and 1878 in Harney Valley. 
Since that time it has been mentioned by many observers. Woodcock 
(1901) listed one specimen from Scio and two from Corvallis, Johnson 
(1880) stated that it occurred at East Portland, Forest Grove, and Salem, 
and Walker (1914) reported one from near Tillamook on November 2.2., 
1914. Jewett saw one shot near Tillamook, January 10, 1916, and saw 
another bird near Gold Hill, May 17, 1916. It is rare now west of the 
Cascades, however, and to be sure of seeing this regal bird, one must go 
to the great rim-rock country of eastern Oregon, where it is still a common 
breeding species and permanent resident. There it builds its nest on the 
inaccessible cliffs and soars far and wide over the surrounding country 
in search of food. We have recorded it in our notes from every county 
in eastern Oregon except Jefferson and Sherman, and for every month. 

The eggs are usually laid in April, and the young birds remain in the 
nest until well into June. We have seen numerous nests in inaccessible 
places in many parts of eastern Oregon. One nest visited by the writers 
near Voltage on June 2.3, 1930, contained a young eagle that took off on 
unsteady pinions as we scrambled up the rocks below the nest. There 
are eggs in the United States National Museum taken by Bendire on 
April 9, 1877, an d April 4, 1878, and there is a set from Harney Valley 
in the Braly collection taken April 8, 1931. 

The Golden Eagle feeds largely on jack rabbits in Oregon but also 
takes waterfowl and other birds, all kinds of rodents, and possibly occa- 
sionally lambs and fawns. 

Northern Bald Eagle: 

Haliaeetus leucocephalus alascanus Townsend 

DESCRIPTION. "Tarsus feathered only half way down, middle and outer toes with- 
out web; wing pointed, secondaries much shorter than primaries; tail less than two 
thirds as long as wing, rounded. Adults: Head, neck, tail, and tail coverts snowy 
white; rest of plumage blackish or dark brownish, feathers edged with brown. 
Young: first year wholly black except for white bases of feathers showing through; 
second or third year under parts mixed black and white; head and neck black, rest 
of upper parts mixed gray, brown, black, and white." (Bailey) Si%e: Length 
(skins) 34.50-43.0x3, wing zi. 44-2.6. 97, tail n.4z-i4.37, culmen from cere 1.50-1.65. 
Nest: A huge mass of sticks, lined with various plant materials and placed on high 
cliffs or in huge trees. Eggs: Usually x, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From northwestern Alaska, northern Mackenzie, and north- 
ern Quebec south to Oregon and Great Lakes. Winters about in its breeding range. 
In Oregon: Uncommon resident along larger waterways and about high Cascade lakes. 
More common along coast. 


THE NORTHERN BALD EAGLE was first recorded from Oregon in the report 
of the Lewis and Clark expedition (Lewis and Clark 1814), which men- 
tioned that it had been seen about the mouth of the Columbia on Novem- 
ber 30, 1805, and again on January z, 1806. Townsend (1839) listed it, 
and Newberry (1857) found it common along the Columbia and Willa- 
mette Rivers and abundant about the Klamath Lakes. Heermann (1859) 
recorded it as common at the falls of the Columbia, and Suckley (1860) 
considered it abundant. Bendire (Brewer 1875) reported it from Camp 
Harney, and both Mearns (1879) an d Merrill (1888) considered it a 
common breeding species about Fort Klamath. Applegate (1905^ stated 
it was common about Klamath, and this district is still one of the areas 
in which it is most regularly found. 

Examining our own notes, we find that it has become rather an un- 
common bird in Oregon, except along the coast where a number of pairs 
still breed. It also occurs fairly regularly along the Columbia River and 
in the Klamath Lake country. Aside from these areas, our records show 
recent reports of scattered individuals from the lakes of the Wallowa 
Mountains, the Deschutes River and lakes about its headwaters, Harney 
Valley, Lake County, and the headwaters of the Umpqua River. 

Of the several pairs that still nest along the coast, all but two known 
to us built their nests on inaccessible cliffs. Those two chose sites high 
in old spruce trees near salt water. Patterson reported eggs taken in 
western Klamath County on April 6 and zz, 192.2.. 

Marsh Hawk: 

Circus kudsonius (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill with conspicuous bristles; face encircled by an owl-like ruff of 
short feathers; tarsus slender, much longer than middle toe and claw; a basal web 
between middle and outer toes; claws large and sharp, much curved; four outer 
primaries cut out on inner webs, second to fifth on outer webs. Adult male: body 
bluish slate, streaked with white and becoming pure ivhtte on rump and belly; under 
parts lightly specked with reddish brown; tail with 6 or 8 bands, on nearest end 
widest and blackest; tips of wing black. Adult female and young: brown or rusty, 
more or less streaked. Length: 19.50-14.00, wing 11.90-16.00, tail 8.80-10.50." 
(Bailey) Nest: On the ground, usually of grass and lined somewhat with feathers 
(Plate 31, A). Eggs: 4 to 6, pale greenish, either with or without blotches and spots 
of brown and buff. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska, Mackenzie, Manitoba, Ontario, Que- 
bec, and Newfoundland south to Lower California, Arizona, Texas, southern Illinois, 
Indiana, Maryland, and Virginia. Winters over most of United States and south 
to Columbia. In Oregon: Permanent resident, much more common east than west of 
Cascades. Least common on coast. 

THE MARSH HAWK (Plate 31, A) is easily distinguished from all other 
hawks by its trim shape, its comparatively long tail, and the square 
white patch at the upper base of its tail. It was first listed by Townsend 

KITES, HAWKS, AND EAGLES: Family Accipitriidae [197] 

Plate 31, A. Young Marsh Hawks in nest. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

Plate 31, B. Osprey. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 


(1839) and has been reported as common in eastern Oregon by Newberry 
(1857), Suckley (1860), Bendire (1877), Mearns (1879), and Merrill 
(1888), as well as numerous later observers. Johnson (1880) reported it 
from East Portland, Forest Grove, and Salem; Anthony (Bailey 1901) 
thought it rare at Portland; Woodcock (1902.) stated it was uncommon 
at Corvallis; and Shelton (1917) considered it of irregular occurrence in 
Lane County. In eastern Oregon, it is an exceedingly common species 
about the irrigated areas and the hayfields of the big stock ranches and 
is regularly found in the grain-growing sections. Patterson took eggs in 
Klamath County, May i and 6, 192.2., and Jewett found a nest at Malheur 
Lake, May 19, 192.4, with three well-incubated eggs. He also found a 
nest near Malheur Caves on June 2.9 containing young. The species is 
uncommon but occasionally seen in all parts of the Willamette Valley. 
It is a rarity on the coast, where our only records are of those seen by 
Jewett at Tillamook, November 9, 1915, and at Brookings, Curry County, 
March 14, 1933. It has not been noted in either the Rogue or Umpqua 

The Marsh Hawk habitually feeds by circling and swinging low over 
the marshes and pasture lands, seldom being seen high in the air. It is 
and has been the subject of much debate. Sportsmen, seeing it quartering 
the marshes, immediately visualize it as spending its entire time feeding 
on ducks. We feel that it seldom kills a healthy adult duck, although it 
may capture wounded birds and feed to a limited extent on young duck- 
lings. Meadow mice, which usually are abundant in the surrounding 
hay lands, are its staple article of diet, whereas its depredations on ducks 
are limited to a few weeks during the summer when the downy young 
are present in numbers. 


Pandion haliaetus carolinensis (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Plumage close, firm, imbricated, oily- feet large and strong, roughly 
granular; toes all free to the base, outer toe reversible; claws all the same length; 
wings long, pointed; tail short. Adult male: Head, neck, and under parts white, 
head more or less streaked with blackish, broad dark streak on side of head; breast 
sometimes slightly blotched with brown; tail narrowly tipped with white and 
crossed by 6 or 7 narrow blackish bands. Adult female: similar, but chest heavily 
spotted with brown. Young: sexes similar to adults, but upper parts blackish 
brown, feathers tipped with white or buffy. Length: 2.0.75-15.00, extent about 65, 
wing 17-2.1 , tail 7-10, bill i .zo-i .45 . ' ' (Bailey) Nest: A mass of sticks, weed stalks, 
and similar material, lined with softer material and placed almost anywhere, on the 
ground, on old buildings, cliffs, or in trees. In Oregon, almost invariably in tall 
trees. Eggs: Usually 3, variable in color, generally white overlaid with buffy and 
frequently heavily blotched with browns of various shades. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska, Mackenzie, Hudson Bay, Labrador, 
and Newfoundland south to Gulf coast, Mexico, and Lower California. Winters 

FALCONS : Family Falconidae [ *99 1 

from Gulf States, Mexico, and Lower California south to Central America. In 
Oregon: Uncommon summer resident throughout State. Arrives in April and remains 
until October. 

THE OSPREY, or Fish Hawk (Plate 31, 5), formerly common along the 
Columbia and Willamette Rivers, in the Klamath basin, and about the 
larger Cascade lakes, must now be considered one of the rarer Oregon 
hawks. It is still present in the Klamath basin but in sadly diminished 
numbers. A few are found along the coast, and scattered pairs occur 
along the larger streams, such as the Rogue, the Umpqua, the Deschutes, 
the John Day, and the Columbia Rivers. Throughout the State, how- 
ever, it is now an uncommon summer resident that arrives in April and 
remains until October (earliest date, March 30, Deschutes County; latest, 
October 15, Union County). 

Townsend (1839) included it in his list of birds found in the "Territory 
of Oregon." Newberry (1857) found it common in all parts of the State 
visited by him, including the Cascades, the Klamath Lakes, the Willam- 
ette Valley, and the Columbia River. Bendire (1877) reported it as a 
rare breeder in Harney Valley, and both Mearns (1879) an d Merrill (1888) 
considered it common about Fort Klamath. Many years later Applegate 
(1905^ found it still common in the same territory, a condition that 
unfortunately no longer exists. 

In many sections of the Atlantic Coast, Ospreys are protected and even 
provided with nest sites by the farmers, but in Oregon, like all other 
hawks, they are killed at every opportunity, both by farmer boys and 
those sportsmen who begrudge them the few fish they consume. These 
birds do feed on fish obtained by diving into the lakes and streams, but 
needless to say, such species as suckers and carp are captured much more 
frequently than more valuable fish. Certainly, the few trout or game 
fish they take in no wise justify the persecution to which the birds are 
subjected in the State. 

Falcons: Family Falconidae 


Falco rusticolus obsoletus Gmelin 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Top of head largely streaked with white; anterior upper 
parts barred with grayish or whitish and darker- tail strongly banded; flanks and 
thighs more or less marked with slaty. Young: upper parts much spotted with white 
or buffy; under parts with dark stripes usually narrower than white interspaces. 
Male: length 2.0-1.1, wing 14.10, tail 8.51, bill .90, tarsus 1.40. Female: length 
11.00-14.50, wing 15.76, tail 9.72., bill i.oi, tarsus 1.46." (Bailey) 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in northern North America from Point Barrow to 
Labrador and wanders south to northern States in winter. In Oregon: Rare strag- 
gler known from three records only. 


THIS GRAY TERROR from the north, the Gyrfalcon, is one of Oregon's 
rarest birds. It is known from three skins only. The first was taken at 
Hermiston, Umatilla County, November 17, 1916, and is now in the 
Jewett collection (Jewett 1919); the second was obtained at Scio, Linn 
County, in May 192.5 (Prill 192.8); and the third, a female, now in Dr. 
Prill's collection, was killed in the St. Helens district in 192.7 by a duck 

There has been much confusion in the classification of these birds. It 
has been generally assumed that three or four races occurred in North 
America. These races have been based largely on variations in winter 
birds with all too few breeding birds available for study. Friedmann has 
only recently come to the conclusion, after careful study of all available 
skins, that there is only one Gyrfalcon in North America and this he calls 
obsoletus. We are following his ideas, but in calling these birds obsoletus 
the name is not restricted as it is in the 1931 Check-List but applies 
generally to the birds that breed from Point Barrow across the Arctic 
wastes to Labrador. 

Prairie Falcon: 

Falco mexicanus Schlegel 

DESCRIPTION.- "Adult male: Under parts and nuchal collar white, sides of head 
with dark patches; median under parts lightly streaked or spotted, and flanks 
heavily spotted or blotched with dusky ; upper parts pale clay brown, usually tinged 
with rusty and indistinctly but broadly barred with pale clay color or dull buffy 
anteriorly, and with pale bluish gray posteriorly. Adult female: upper parts dull 
clay brown, feathers edged with rusty brown or dull whitish, paler toward tail; 
tail tipped with whitish and lighter on outer edges of feathers. Young: upper parts 
grayish brown, feathers edged with light rusty; under parts buffy with broader 
dusky streaks; dark flank patch larger and more uniform than in the adult, and 
axillars unbroken dusky [Plate 32., A]. Ma/e: length 17-18, wing 11.60-11.50, tail 
6.40-7.50, bill .70-. 75. Female: length 18.50-2.0.00, wing 13.2.5-14.30, tail 8-9, 
bill .85-. 90." (Bailey) Nest: Built of sticks, usually on a ledge of a high cliff or 
rim. Eggs: 3 to 5, creamy white, blotched and spotted with reddish brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From southern British Columbia, southern Alberta, and 
southeastern Saskatchewan to southern Lower California and southern Mexico. 
In Oregon: Common permanent resident of eastern Oregon. Straggles occasionally to 
western Oregon. 

THE PRAIRIE FALCON is the most abundant representative of the larger 
falcons found in Oregon. Cassin (Baird, Cassin, and Lawrence 1858) first 
listed it, from Fort Dalles, and Suckley (1860) found it not rare at the 
same point. Bendire (1877) found it common in the Harney Valley, and 
Mearns (1879) reported it from Fort Klamath. There is no bird whose 
power of flight commands more admiration than that of this falcon, the 
aerial abilities of which enable it to overtake such speed artists as the 

FALCONS: Family Falconidae 



Mourning Dove and teal. About the nests one usually finds a wide 
assortment of feathers of the above birds and of meadowlarks, flickers, 
Sage Thrashers, and robins, although there is often a liberal sprinkling 
of smaller species also. Because of its wariness and speed it has held its 
own in eastern Oregon better than many of the other hawks and is still 
a common permanent resident of the towering rims of most of that part 
of the State, where it can be seen flying along at tremendous speed on 
effortless wings. It nests about the rims and lays its eggs in April. The 
dates of five sets taken by Braly in the past few years, mostly along the 
Columbia River, vary from April 6 to 2.0, although Patterson took eggs 
in the Klamath country on May 5 and 8, 19x8. 

In western Oregon it occurs only as an irregular straggler. Johnson 
(1880) reported one specimen from the Willamette Valley; Jewett (Gabri- 
elson 1931) saw one near Medford, Jackson County (March i, 19x4), and 
received one taken at Portland (November 2.7, 1934); and Gabrielson 
(1931) took one at Eagle Point, Jackson County (November 8, 192.6). 
There is also a specimen in the Jewett collection taken at the game farm 
at Corvallis (November 2.6, 192.5), and Walker (19x7) reported three in 
the Griepentrog collection taken at Salem (November 16, 19x4, December 
2.5, 192.5, and November 10, 192.6). 

Of two stomachs collected in winter in eastern Oregon, one taken at 
Arlington contained a domestic pigeon, and one from Pilot Rock, a 
white-footed mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus gambelit). 

Duck Hawk: 

Falco peregrmus anatum Bonaparte 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Sides of head and neck black, in striking contrast to white 
or buffy of throat and breast; rest of under parts deeper colored and spotted or 
barred with blackish; top of head sooty black, rest of upper parts slaty blue, lighter on 
rump, indistinctly barred with dusky; wing quills blackish, inner webs of quills 
spotted regularly with buffy or yellowish brown; tail blackish, crossed by 8 to 10 
light grayish bars, and with narrow white tip. Young: under parts yellowish, 
brown or reddish brown, heavily streaked with dark brown; upper parts blackish, 
feathers edged with rusty; tail spotted with reddish brown and conspicuously 
tipped with buffy. Male: length 15.50-18.00, wing 11.30-13.00, tail 6.00-7.50, 
bill .75-. 80. Female: length 18.2.0, wing 13.00-14.75, tail 6.90-9.00, bill .85-1.00." 
(Bailey) Nest: Usually on a ledge of rock or in old hawks' nests in trees. Eggs: 
4, creamy white, spotted with brown or brick red. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska, northern Mackenzie, Baffin Island, and 
west coast of Greenland south to Lower California, central Mexico, Kansas, Mis- 
souri, Tennessee, and Connecticut. Winters from Vancouver Island, Colorado, 
Nebraska, Ohio River, New Jersey, and Massachusetts south to West Indies and 
Panama. In Oregon: Rare permanent resident, likely to be noted in any part of State 
during migration, but most frequently seen in eastern Oregon. 

FALCONS : Family Falconidae [ 2.03 ] 

TOWNSEND (1839) first listed the Duck Hawk from our territory, and 
Bendire (1877) listed it as rare in Harney Valley, though he took a set 
of three eggs from a basaltic cliff near Malheur Lake on April 2.4, 1877 
(Bendire 1891). Merrill (1888) reported it as common at Fort Klamath, 
and Anthony (Woodcock 1902.) stated that a few were seen in Portland 
and vicinity. 

We consider it a comparatively rare bird in Oregon, where it is usually 
to be found following the migrating waterfowl or near wintering flocks 
of the same birds. We have noted it in Klamath, Lake, Harney, Malheur, 
Crook, Douglas (Diamond Lake), Lincoln, Multnomah, and Curry Coun- 
ties and have known of one pair nesting in Lake County since 19x0. 
Curiously enough this nesting pair, the only one known definitely to us 
in recent years, is on an isolated rock far from water, where Mourning 
Doves, meadowlarks, Sage Thrashers, and similar birds usually preyed 
upon by the Prairie Falcons must of necessity furnish their food supply. 

The Duck Hawk, like the Prairie Falcon, has remarkable powers of 
flight. Flying with steady, apparently easy wing beats, it is yet able to 
overtake the swiftest waterfowl. Gabrielson (192.2.) saw one overtake a 
flock of teal in full flight and strike one down. The Duck Hawk was 
traveling much faster than the teal, whose frantic wing beats made a 
haze beside their bodies, and yet the hawk gave the very definite impres- 
sion that he had unused speed in reserve. 

Peale's Falcon: 

Falco peregrmus peali Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION.- "Adults: Like F. p. anatum, but head and upper parts uniform dark slate 
blue; barred on back of wings and tail; chest marked with tear-shaped blackish 
spots, and rest of under parts broadly barred with blackish. Young: under parts 
sooty black, streaked with buffy or buffy white; upper parts with only faint traces 
of rusty feather margins. Male: wing 12-95, ta ^ 6.75, bill .84. Female: wing 
14.66, tail 7.84, bill .96." (Bailey) Nest and eggs: Same as those of F. p. anatum. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Aleutian, Commander, and possibly Queen Char- 
lotte Islands. Winters south to Oregon. In Oregon: Regular winter resident of 
coast. Usually appears in late August and remains until March. 

PEALE'S FALCON, or Black Duck Hawk, is strictly a bird of the coast in 
Oregon, the only inland record being one of a bird found dead in Portland 
on October 2.5, 192.7 (Gabrielson Coll.). It is a regular winter resident 
that ordinarily begins to appear in late August and remains until March 
(earliest date, July 5, Tillamook County; latest, May 3, Clatsop County). 
It is most abundant from September to January. Our earliest specimen is 
from Waldport, Lincoln County, August 31, 192.3 (Gabrielson Coll.), and 
our latest spring record is the one taken May 3, 1931, at Seaside, Clatsop 

Little has been written about this species as an Oregon bird. Gurney 


(1882.) credited it to the State, and Woodcock (1901) listed it as a breed- 
ing bird at Newport on B. J. Bretherton's report. Walker (192.6) listed 
it from Netarts, and various general ornithologists have credited it to 
Oregon. In our experience it is a regular but not common winter resident 
on the coast, occasionally as far south as Curry County, frequenting the 
offshore rocks and rocky promontories where it makes life exciting for 
the Black Turnstones, scoters, murres, and other wintering water birds. 
Occasionally one takes up a winter residence on the wind-carved timber 
that adorns the long sand spits across the mouths of many Oregon bays. 
There this speedy killer will be found perched on a dead snag that affords 
a clear view of the open spit in a fine strategic position to observe and 
attack any of the constant procession of water birds that cross the spit. 
Its speed enables it to overtake the swiftest, and its boldness often leads 
it to attack birds larger than itself. The bird collected at Waldport by 
Gabrielson had just killed and was tearing apart an adult California Gull. 

Black Pigeon Hawk: 

Falco columbarius suckleyi Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION. ''Adult male: Upper parts blackish brown, wing coverts and tertials 
slaty, tail coverts bluish slate; tail black, with three slaty whitish bars, and tip 
marked with whitish; throat white streaked with black; rest of under parts blackish 
brown with whitish and tawny markings. Adult female and young: under parts 
heavily marked with dusky; upper parts blackish brown, wing coverts and tertials 
slaty; tail coverts bluish slate; inner webs of quills not distinctly spotted or barred; 
tail bands, except for whitish tip, indistinct or obsolete. Male: wing 8, tail 4.90, 
tarsus 1.40, bill .70. Female: wing 8.2.5-8.50, tail 5.70-5.80, bill .55-. 60." (Bailey) 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds apparently in western British Columbia and perhaps 
on Vancouver Island. Winters south along coast to southern California. In Oregon: 
Rare winter resident of coast. Only of casual occurrence inland. 

LITTLE has been written regarding the status of the Black Pigeon Hawk 
in Oregon. Bendire (1892.) recorded a pair at Fort Klamath, May 9, 1883, 
and Eckstrom (1902.) listed a specimen for the same locality and date. 
Evidently these two records refer to the same bird or birds. Anthony 
(Bailey 1902.) considered it a common winter visitor in the vicinity of 
Portland, but no other observer has ever regarded it as anything except 
a rare species. Woodcock (1902.) stated it was not common at Yaquina 
Bay and Corvallis. Walker (192.4) took a specimen October i, 192.1, at 
Netarts Bay, and Prill (192.8) one from Scio, November i, 192.2.. In addi- 
tion to these, there are four specimens from Oregon. The first two are 
in the Jewett collection, one from Seaside, taken October 18, 192.7, and 
the second, a most remarkable record, procured by Harold Dobyns at 
Heppner, July 31, 192.9. The third is in the Gabrielson collection, and 
was taken at Modoc Point, Klamath County, October 9, 1934. The 
fourth was taken by Alex Walker, in Tillamook County, May 5, 1934. 

FALCONS : Family Falconidae [ 2.05 ] 

We have noted this hawk also in Portland, where, for several winters, 
one harassed the pigeons and English Sparrows about the Post Office 
Building at Broadway and Glisan Streets, and we have seen it in Coos, 
Tillamook, and Lincoln Counties under exceptionally favorable oppor- 
tunities for observation. 

Western Pigeon Hawk: 

Falco columbarius bendirei Swann 

DESCRIPTION. "Middle tail feathers crossed by not more than four blackish or five 
lighter bands. Adult male: under parts heavily striped on whitish, buffy, or rusty 
ground, striping lightest or wanting on throat; upper parts bluish gray, with black 
shaft streaks, hind neck mixed with whitish, buffy, or yellowish brown; wing 
quills blackish, inner webs distinctly barred or spotted. Adult female: upper parts 
brownish, top and sides of head streaked with blackish; under parts whitish or 
buffy, without rusty tinge. Young: like female but darker, or tinged with rusty or 
yellowish brown above, and whitish or buffy below. Si%e: Male, length 10-11, 
wing 7.40-7.80, tail 4.65-5.zo, bill .48-. 50. Female, length 11.50-13.15, wing 
8.35-8.60, tail 5.30-5.50, bill .55-. 60." (Bailey) Nest: On cliffs or in trees, those in 
the latter situations built of sticks and lined with feathers, shredded bark, or 
moss. Eggs: 4 or 5, ground color white, usually suffused with reddish brown. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska, Yukon, and northwestern Mackenzie 
to British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and south in mountains to Cali- 
fornia. In Oregon: Very rare breeding bird and uncommon migrant and winter resi- 
dent in eastern Oregon. Very rare straggler west of Cascades. 

THE PIGEON HAWK was first recorded from Oregon by Townsend (1839). 
Newberry (1857) reported it as paired and nesting about Klamath Lake. 
Bendire (1877), under the name F. c. richardsoni, reported a nest contain- 
ing young in May 1876, which he stated was the only nest he had seen, 
although later he listed eggs taken at Camp Harney, April 2.0, 1876 
(Bendire 1892.). Merrill (1888) reported it from Fort Klamath and Dia- 
mond Lake, and Anthony (1886) regarded it as rare in Washington 
County. Willett (1919) listed two taken in August near Malheur Lake, 
and there are scattered references to it in Biological Survey field notes for 
Oregon, including two specimens taken in August 1914, in Lake County, 
by L. J. Goldman and a record of the bird at Empire, Coos County, in 
October, by D. D. Streeter, Jr. 

In our own experience, this little falcon is an uncommon bird in Oregon 
except in late August and September, the period in which most of our 
records fall. We have specimens taken in Wallowa (April n), Harney 
(September 16), Gilliam (December 2.2.), Malheur (December 5), and 
Klamath (January 2.2.) Counties and sight records under favorable condi- 
tions in Grant, Klamath, Lake, Washington, and Jackson Counties, all 
in eastern Oregon except the last two. The species is perhaps more 
common than these records indicate, but except under favorable observa- 
tional conditions it can easily be confused with the more plentiful young 


Sharp-shinned Hawk. It is a rather tame and unsuspicious little falcon, 
often allowing an observer to walk directly beneath its perch on a tele- 
phone pole or small tree. Several of our specimens and records have been 
obtained in such situations. 

One bird taken by Harold Dobyns near Arlington on December 2.2., 
192.7, had eaten a Horned Lark. 

Eastern Sparrow Hawk: 

Falco sparverius sparverius Linnaeus 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Top of head bluish or slaty, with or without rufous 
crown patch; cheeks with two black stripes; back rufous, with or without black 
bars or spots; wings bluish gray; tail rufous, with black subterminal band; under 
parts varying from white to rufous, with or without black spots. Adult female: 
similar, but back, wings, and tail barred with dusky. Young: similar to adults, but 
colors more blended and in male feathers of upper parts edged with whitish. 
Male: length 8.75-10.60, wing 7.16, tail 4.73, bill .50. Female: length 9.50-11.00, 
wing 7.57, tail 5.14, bill .50-. 5 5." (Bailey) Nest: In old woodpecker holes or 
natural cavities in trees. Eggs: 2. to 5, from pure white, faintly marked, to deep 
buff, spotted and blotched with brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Upper Yukon, British Columbia, northwestern 
Mackenzie, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, northern Ontario, Quebec, and 
Newfoundland south to northwestern California, Colorado, Texas, and Gulf States. 
Winters from southern British Columbia, Kansas, Indiana, central Illinois, Ohio, 
Ontario, and Massachusetts, south to Panama. In Oregon: Very common permanent 
resident throughout State. 

SINCE NEWBERRY (1857) first listed the Eastern Sparrow Hawk (Plate 
31, ff) as an abundant Oregon species, many ornithologists have com- 
mented on its presence. This handsome little falcon is without doubt the 
most abundant raptorial bird found in the State and is a familiar sight 
to most travelers as it perches on the telephone poles along the high- 
ways, now and then darting to the ground to get a mouse, a beetle, or a 
grasshopper detected by its keen eyes. In addition to hunting for its 
prey in this fashion, it often hovers over a field on rapidly beating wings 
while carefully scanning the area below for some evidence of an edible 
tidbit. It is most abundant from March to September but remains com- 
monly through the winter in all parts of the State except the higher 
mountains. It has been noted in every county. 

The nests are built in holes in trees, often in old excavations made by 
the flicker. Egg dates vary from April 2.6 to June 2,0, most of those taken 
being from eastern Oregon where it is easier for the collector to find 
nesting sites than in the dense timber of western Oregon. 

Order CM 


Grouse: Family Tetraonidae 

Richardson's Grouse: 

Dendragafus obscurus richardsoni (Douglas) 

DESCRIPTION "Similar to D. obscurus, but tail without distinct terminal gray band, 
and tail feathers more truncated at tip." (Bailey) Downy young: Similar to Sooty 
Grouse. Si%e: Male, length 2.0-2.3, wing 9.40-10.00, tail 8. Female, length 17.50- 
19.00, wing 8.70-9.00, tail 6. Nest and eggs: Similar to Sooty Grouse. 
DISTRIBUTION General: Resident in Rocky Mountains from central British Columbia 
and western Alberta to northeastern Oregon, central Idaho, and Wyoming. In Ore- 
gon: Permanent resident. All Blue Grouse records from Wallowa, Baker, Union, 
northern Malheur and Harney, eastern Crook, Grant, Wheeler, southern Morrow, 
and southern and eastern Umatilla Counties are properly referred to this form. (See 
Figure 4.) 

THE MALE Richardson's Grouse is distinguished in life from the Sooty and 
Sierra Grouse by the following salient differences. It is a somewhat larger 
bird with a noticeably longer and squarer tail, and it lacks entirely the 
terminal band found in the other two. Its hoot is much the same as that of 
the others but lacks volume and carrying power. Its air sacs are much 
smaller than the huge affairs of the others and are red purple instead of 
orange yellow. The females and young are quite similar to those of the 
other species. 

Early records of Blue Grouse were badly confused, so that we find Rich- 
ardson's Grouse reported on the coast and breeding records for the Sooty 
Grouse in the Blue Mountains. All records of Blue Grouse in the Blue 
Mountain area refer to Richardson's Grouse, whereas those from the 
Warner Mountains, Cascades, and Coast Ranges refer to the Sooty and 
Sierra Grouse. So far as we can tell the earliest definite reference to this 
species as an Oregon bird was by Audubon (1838), who listed it from the 
Blue Mountains of Oregon. Bendire (1877) found the first nest reported 
from the state on June 7, 1876, near the summit of Canyon City Mountain. 
It contained 9 eggs. He reported both this species and fuliginosus abundant 
in this territory; this was surely a mistake, as there is no evidence of an 
overlapping of ranges of these forms in this area. 

In habits and behavior Richardson's Grouse are quite similar to other 
Blue Grouse and gather on the higher open ridges in August to feed. At 
this season the currant patches of the Wallowas are a favorite rendezvous 
of this species and the Gray Ruffed Grouse, which feed together, each 


going its separate way when alarmed, the Ruffed Grouse usually making 
for the aspen and lodgepole thickets, and their larger cousins seeking the 
shelter of the higher trees. They remain on the high ridges until the 
available food supply is exhausted and then take to the timber to feed on 
buds and needles till spring. 

Richardson's Grouse, when feeding on the ground, frequently leave a 
single bird on guard in the branches of a nearby tree. The whirr of the 
lookout's wings as he takes alarm seems to serve as a warning signal to 
the birds below. This species when feeding on the currants or other berries, 
almost invariably stands on the ground, reaching up to get the fruit or 
picking up fallen berries. In the same patches, the Ruffed Grouse likewise 
may be found on the ground but often are perched in the bushes competing 
with the robins and Varied Thrushes for the fast-vanishing crop. 

Sooty Grouse: 

Dendragapus fuliginosus fuliginosus (Ridg way) 

DESCRIPTION Adult male: Upper parts sooty blackish, finely mottled with gray and 
brown, buffy brown on wings; hinder scapulars usually with distinct shaft streaks 
and terminal spots of white; tail blackish with a narrow bluish gray band; under 
parts slaty, marked with white on side of neck and flanks. Adult female: Similar to 
male, but decidedly smaller, and upper parts, chest, and sides barred and mottled 
with dark brown and buffy. Young: upper parts yellowish brown, with irregular 
barring or mottling, and black spots and white or buff shaft streaks widening at tip; 
under parts dull whitish, chest and sides spotted with black. (Adapted from Bailey.) 
Downy young: "In the downy chick the head and under parts vary from 'cream color' 
to 'ivory yellow'; the crown is mottled with black and a little 'hazel,' and the 
auriculars are spotted with black; the upper parts are variegated with 'hazel,' 'chest- 
nut,' dusky, and pale buff. The wings begin to grow soon after the chick is hatched ; 
in a chick 3 inches long they already reach beyond the tail. These first wing feathers 

FIGURE 4. Distribution of three forms of grouse in Oregon: i, Richardson's Grouse (Dendra- 
gapus obscurus richardsonf)\ ~L, Sooty Grouse (D. fuliginosus fuliginosus^); 3, Sierra Grouse 
(JD. f. sierrae"). 

GROUSE : Family Tetraonidae 


Plate 33, A. Downy Young Sooty Grouse. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 

Plate 33, B. Nest and eggs of Sooty Grouse. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 


and their greater coverts are broadly tipped with white and have white shaft streaks." 
(Bent) (See Plate 33, A.*) Size: Male, length zo-z}, wing 9.40-10.00, tail 8. Female, 
length 17.50-19.00, wing 8.70, tail 6. Nest: A slight depression, lined with dead 
leaves, ferns, and other dry vegetable matter. Eggs: 6 to 10, usually 6 or 7, pale 
cream to light buff, more or less spotted with fine dots of dark brown (Plate 33, B). 
DISTRIBUTION General: Northwest coast mountains from Alaska to northwestern 
California. In Oregon: Permanent resident of Coast Ranges, Willamette Valley, Cas- 
cade Mountains, and intervening ranges to Siskiyous. (See Figure 4.) 

THE SOOTY GROUSE, or "Hooter" ' (Plate 34, A), was first listed for this State 
by Townsend (1839), and since that time it has been in practically every 
list for the territory in which it is found. It is still a fairly common resi- 
dent of the wooded areas, including the isolated buttes and wooded hills 
of the Willamette Valley, though much diminished in numbers in recent 
years. Mount Hood is the type locality of this subspecies, and from here 
it is found along the Cascades south to about the California line. Speci- 
mens from the southern Cascades, particularly from the vicinity of Keno 
and Fort Klamath, show intergradation with D. f. sierrae, some being 
quite like specimens from the Warner Mountains and Sierra Nevadas. All 
the Blue Grouse in the territory to the north and west including the east 
slope of the Cascades can be considered to be this subspecies. 

Early in the spring, in late February or March, the males of the Sooty 
Grouse begin their curious love song, the low-pitched hoot-hoot-hoot, re- 
peated from four to six times and audible for amazing distances. It has 
a curious ventriloquial quality that makes the "singer" difficult to locate. 
When finally discovered, he usually will be found perched high in a giant 
fir, close to the trunk. The call is uttered with a slightly opened bill 
and is accompanied by an inflating of the throat that continues until the 
brilliant-yellow air sacs are on full display. 

The nests (Plate 33, B) are usually built beneath a small tree or shrub. 
They may or may not be concealed and usually contain six or seven eggs. 
Nests with fresh eggs have been found from April 14 (Hadley 1899) to 
June 4 (Prill 1893). In addition to these published records, Alex Walker 
has three Tillamook County nests taken April 10 and 30, 1933, and May 
14, 19x9, each with eight eggs. He also has records of one nest near 
Mulino, Clackamas County, on May n, 1912., containing eight eggs, a 
second with ten eggs on May 2.2., 1913, and a third with eight eggs on 
April 2.7, 1914. Jewett found nests in Clackamas County, on April 2.8, 
1903, May 3, 1908, and June 2., 192.1, each containing six eggs. 

The Sooty Grouse reverses the usual bird migration procedure. Al- 
though it does not migrate in the commonly accepted sense of the term, 
there is a seasonal altitudinal movement. In the spring the birds come 
down to the lower edge of the timber or to the openings about meadows 
to nest. As soon as the young are able to fly well the parents lead them 
into the mountains. There they spend the summer and fall months on 

GROUSE : Family "Tetraonidae 


Plate 34, A. Sooty Grouse. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley.) 

Plate 34, B. Nest and eggs of Oregon Ruffed Grouse. (Photo by Reed Ferris.) 


the more open ridges, feeding on ripening berries and insects, particularly 
grasshoppers, which are abundant at times. With the coming of winter, 
the grouse take to the heavy timber, feeding on the buds and needles of 
coniferous trees and remaining hidden in the thick tops of the trees. 

When flushed from the ground, the Sooty Grouse leaves with a star- 
tling whirr of wings, making straight for the nearest timber and swerving 
sharply upward to land in a tree where it is expert in concealing itself 
either by remaining motionless or crouching lengthways on a heavy 
limb. When flushed from the trees on a ridge, the bird pitches straight 
downward out of the tree at almost bullet speed, to land in another tree 
far below. 

Sierra Grouse: 

Dendragapus fuliginosus sierrae Chapman 

DESCRIPTION. Similar to Sooty Grouse but paler and with a heavier vermiculation 
above. It has a whiter throat and paler under parts and practically lacks neck 
tufts. Downy young, sz%e, nest y and eggs: About same as those of Sooty Grouse. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Southern Cascades and Warner Mountains of Oregon south 
into California to southern Sierras. In Oregon: Permanent resident of mountains of 
Lake and Klamath Counties. (See Figure 4.) 

IN HABITS and behavior, the Sierra Grouse is entirely like the Sooty 
Grouse. Typical birds of this subspecies are found in Oregon, so far as 
we have been able to ascertain from a careful examination of numerous 
specimens, only in Lake County. There in the Warner Mountains these 
grouse match very closely birds from the central Sierras. From the ex- 
treme southern end of the Cascades, our specimens are somewhat inter- 
mediate but most of them are closer to birds from Mount Hood, which 
is the type locality of the Sooty Grouse, than they are to those of the 
Sierras. We have one bird from Keno, Klamath County, that is inter- 
mediate but closer to the Warner Mountain birds, while others might be 
placed in either form. Chapman (1904), in naming this form, commented 
on this intergradation on this area as follows: 

Several of the specimens, in an admirable series collected by Major Bendire, at Fort Klamath, 
are referable to sierrae rather than to fuliginosus, though not typical of the former. Other 
examples in this series, however, are much nearer to fuliginosus. 

Despite the fact that the 1931 Check-List states that this subspecies is 
found north to Washington, we have been unable, even with careful col- 
lecting, to obtain a single specimen nearer to sierrae anywhere north of 
Fort Klamath. Although we have few specimens from the Siskiyous 
south of the Rogue River, it would not be surprising to find some evidence 
of intergradation in an extensive series. Those that we have are closer 
to fuliginosus. 

GROUSE : Family Tetraonidae [ iJ 3 ] 

Patterson took eggs of Blue Grouse in the area of intergradation on 
May 10, 1931, in southern Klamath and Jackson Counties. 

Franklin's Grouse: 

Canachites franklini (Douglas) 

DESCRIPTION. "Similar to Dendragapus , but tail with sixteen feathers, which are 
more truncated at tip. Adult male: orange comb over eye; upper parts dark, broadly 
marked with black bands and narrower bars of gray and brown; tail feathers black 
to tip, or narrowly edged with white; upper tail coverts mottled and strikingly banded 
ivitb white; throat and chest black, with white band between; belly banded with 
white; flanks mottled and banded with brown and streaked with white. Adult 
female: upper parts blackish, irregularly banded, barred, and mottled with rusty 
brown and ash; white bands of tail narrower than in male; under parts uniformly 
banded with black, white, and rusty brown." (Bailey) Downy young: "The Frank- 
lin's Grouse chick is beautifully colored. The central crown patch, which is bor- 
dered with black, and the upper parts in general are rich brown, from 'Sanford's 
brown' to 'amber brown'; the colors of the forehead, sides of the head, and under 
parts vary from 'mustard yellow' to 'Naples yellow,' deepest and tinged with 
brownish on the forehead and flanks, and palest on the sides of the head and belly; 
there are black spots below the eyes, on the lores and auriculars, on the lower fore- 
head, and on the rump; and there is a black ring around the neck." (Bent) Si%e: 
"Length I4.7o-i6.zo, wing about 6.50-7.35, tail 5.00-5.75." (Bailey) Nest: A 
depression in the ground, lined with pine needles, grass, and other dry matter. 
Eggs: Buff to pale brown, spotted with small spots of dark brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Southeastern Alaska, British Columbia, and Washington, 
Cascades east and south to Alberta, western Montana, central Idaho, and north- 
eastern Oregon. In Oregon: Known only as rare and local resident in a few spots in 
Wallowa Mountains, mostly in Wallowa County, with a few in extreme northern 
Baker County. 

THE BEAUTIFULLY marked Franklin's Grouse is Oregon's rarest and most 
local species of upland game bird, being found only in a few very restricted 
spots in eastern Wallowa County and northeastern Baker County in the 
lodgepole pine forests adjacent to and on the slopes of the highest part 
of the Wallowa Range. There is a single specimen in the Biological 
Survey collection taken at the junction of Cliff and Imnaha Rivers, Sep- 
tember 9, 1915, by Jewett, and there are specimens in our collections 
from the same general territory. The birds are occasionally seen in this 
vicinity about Lick Creek Ranger Station and on the ridge between the 
Imnaha and Snake Canyons but can by no means be considered common 
We know of no actual nesting records, although various rangers at Lick 
Creek Ranger Station have reported coveys of partly grown young. So 
far as we can learn, there are no specimens in existence from Oregon 
taken outside the territory indicated above, although this grouse has been 
credited occasionally to the Oregon Cascades, particularly about Mount 
Hood. The Mount Hood records should be eliminated, however, as we 
have found no definite records of the species from the parts of this range 


now included in the State. Suckley (1860) reported it from the vicinity 
of The Dalles, but a careful reading of the text indicates that this reference 
is entirely to the present State of Washington, probably in the vicinity 
of Mount Adams. 

Gray Ruffed Grouse: 

Bonasa umbellus umbelloides (Douglas) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Ruffs black, with bluish green gloss to tips; upper parts 
gray, whole surface finely mottled gray and black, more or less washed with rufous, 
blotched with black, and streaked with white; tail always gray, with broad black 
subterminal band; under parts white and buffy, barred with brown. Adult female: 
similar but smaller, with neck tufts rudimentary or obsolete. Young: similar to 
adult female, but browner, barring paler, less distinct, dim white and neck tufts 
wanting." (Bailey) Douny young: Bent describes the plumage of the eastern Ruffed 
Grouse chick, which is very similar to this species, as follows: "In the ruffed grouse 
chick the entire crown and back are 'tawny' or 'russet,' darkest on the back and 
rump, shading off to 'pale ochraceous-buff' on the sides of the head, chest, and 
flanks; the underparts are pale yellow, shading off to yellowish white on the chin 
and belly; there is a black auricular patch, but no other spotting on the head." 
Si%e-' "Length 15.50-19.00, wing 7.00-7.50, tail 5.50-7.00." (Bailey) Nest: A 
shallow depression, usually at the foot of a tree, lined with leaves or other con- 
venient dry vegetation. Eggs: 9 to 14, buff to cinnamon buff, sometimes spotted 
with dots of dull clay color or buff. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Ranges from Alberta and Mackenzie south to northeastern 
Oregon, northern Utah, northern Colorado, and South Dakota. In Oregon: Resident 
of Blue Mountain area, including all Ruffed Grouse of Wallowa, Union, Baker, 
Malheur, Harney, Crook, Grant, Wheeler, Morrow, and Umatilla Counties. (See 
Figure 5.) 

THE GRAY RUFFED GROUSE is the pale-gray form of the Blue Mountain 
section of Oregon, where it is quite common during the breeding season 

FIGURE 5. Distribution of Ruffed Grouse in Oregon: i, Gray Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa urn 
bellus umbelloides}; 2., Oregon Ruffed Grouse (B. u. sabinf). 

GROUSE : Family Tetraonidae [ 2.1 5 ] 

in the willow and alder bottoms. The earliest Oregon record that we can 
refer definitely to this form is that of Bendire (1875), who reported it as 
rare near Camp Harney. References in literature to the Canada Ruffed 
Grouse as an Oregon bird all belong to this race as at present defined. 
Our only actual nesting record is a nest found by Jewett on Beech Creek, 
Grant County, July z, 1915, containing six eggs. When he visited it on 
July 5 he saw two young birds. The families stay together well into the 
fall, during which season they can be found feeding in the berry patches, 
sometimes in company with Richardson's Grouse, or foraging through 
the thickets of lodgepole pine gathering the berries of the kinnikinnick 
or the seed pods of pipsissewa. The birds are subject to a variety of dis- 
eases, some of which possibly account for cycles of abundance and scarcity 
that appear in the species. 

The drumming produced by this grouse when the wings are beating 
rapidly has caused a great deal of discussion among naturalists as to 
whether the booming sound is made by the wings alone or by clapping 
them together over the back, striking the strutting leg or the sides of the 
body. The controversy seems finally to have been definitely settled by 
the use of motion pictures that show distinctly that the sound is pro- 
duced by the wings alone. 

The Gray Ruffed Grouse is one of the best known and best loved of 
upland game birds. Where it is persistently hunted, it soon develops an 
almost uncanny knack of bursting into full flight at the most inopportune 
moments; that is, from the hunter's point of view. It seems always to 
launch into the air behind a tree or to dodge quickly behind one, or else 
to choose the moment when the hunter is entangled in a fence. These 
tricks make wing shooting of Ruffed Grouse the highest test of a hunter's 
skill and give the bird its reputation as one of the sportiest of game birds. 

Oregon Ruffed Grouse: 

Bonasa umbellus sabini (Douglas) 

DESCRIPTION. "Like B. u. umbelloides, but much darker; upper parts black and dark 
rusty or reddish brown, rarely with any gray; tail usually deep rusty, rarely grayish; 
under parts heavily marked with blackish and washed with buffy brown." (Bailey) 
Downy young: Similar to Canada Ruffed Grouse and Gray Ruffed Grouse. Nest and 
eggs: Similar to those of Gray Ruffed Grouse (Plate 34, B). 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Vancouver Island and British Columbia south on coast to 
central California. In Oregon: Resident of coast counties, Willamette, Umpqua, and 
Rogue River Valleys, and Cascades, at least south to Mount McLoughlin, Jackson 
County, including east slope of this range. (See Figure 5.) 

THE OREGON RUFFED GROUSE is the brown, strikingly marked Ruffed 
Grouse of the Northwest. Its habits and behavior are identical with those 
described for the Gray Ruffed Grouse, of which it is a darker and hand- 


somer blood relative. It is a fairly common resident of the alder and 
willow bottoms of the State, although it has decreased much in numbers 
in recent years. This form was originally described by Douglas (18x9) 
from specimens collected on the Oregon coast, and it has been listed by 
practically every ornithologist since that time. All of the specimens 
available from the Cascades and the country to the west of the range 
clearly belong to this form, except for a single female (Gabrielson Coll. 
No. xi 60) taken at Rustler Peak, November 6, 19x6, on the west slope 
of the Cascades in Jackson County that is apparently an eastern Oregon 
bird. It closely matches our series of gray birds from the Blue Mountains 
and lacks entirely the browns of the western Oregon bird, except for a 
slight brown tinting on the base of the tail and a few brown feathers on 
the back of the neck. 

The species nests throughout its range, and eggs have been found by 
various observers from April 2.3 to May 2.9. In addition to our own and 
published records, Alex Walker has furnished three nesting records for 
Clackamas County: Mulino, May 18, 1912., 10 eggs, and May 4, 1913, n 
eggs; and Canby, May 3, 1913, 8 eggs. 

Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse: 

Pedioecetes phasianellus columbianus (Ord) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Upper parts grayish brown, with black and buffy markings; 
under parts buffy or clear whitish, white or buffy prevailing in feathers with V- 
shaped markings. Young: similar to adult female but grayer, and throat white." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "Downy young sharp-tails are decidedly yellowish; the 
general color varies from 'mustard yellow' above to 'straw yellow' below, washed 
on the crown and back with 'ochraceous-tawny'; they are spotted on the crown and 
blotched or streaked on the back with black; there is a black spot at the base of the 
culmen and a black spot on the auriculars." (Bent) Si^e: "Length 15-19, wing 
8.50-9.00, tail 4.00-5.50." (Bailey) Nest: A hollow in the ground, lined with 
dried grass, weeds, and feathers. Eggs: 10 to 15, buff or olive buff, sometimes 
spotted with small dots of dark brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Interior of British Columbia to northeastern California 
(formerly), Utah, Colorado, and northern Mexico. In Oregon: Formerly found over 
most of eastern Oregon but now, greatly reduced in numbers, an uncommon resident 
of a few counties. Recorded in recent years in Wasco, Sherman, Morrow, Umatilla, 
Wallowa, Union, Baker, and Harney Counties. 

THE COLUMBIAN SHARP-TAILED GROUSE, palest and grayest of the three 
recognized races, was described by Ord in 1815 from specimens collected 
by the Lewis and Clark expedition on the "great plains of the Columbia 
River. ' ' In view of the fact that it is now a scarce bird and one apparently 
headed for early extinction, it seems advisable to outline something of 
the ornithological record available at this time. Douglas (182.9) recorded 
it from the Plains of the Columbia, and Townsend (1839) credited it to 

GROUSE : Family Tetraonidae [ 2.17 ] 

Oregon. Newberry (1857) reported it from Klamath and from the Des- 
chutes to The Dalles. Suckley (1860) reported young birds near The 
Dalles as early as April i, 1855, and Elliot (1865) said it was exceedingly 
abundant. Bendire (1877) reported it from Camp Harney, and both 
Mearns (1879) anc ^ Merrill (1888) listed it from Fort Klamath. Miller 
(1904) noted it in Wheeler County. By 1905, Applegate (1905^ con- 
sidered it rare in the Klamath country. Walker (1917^ reported it from 
Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam Counties. Since that date the only record 
published is Gabrielson's (192^) from Wallowa County. 

We see it occasionally in small flocks, most frequently in the grain 
country along the north-central boundary of the State. There the wide 
fields of grain, broken and interrupted by canyons and scab-rock patches 
grown to bunchgrass, and the original vegetation of the territory pro- 
vide conditions that permit the species to persist in limited numbers, 
but continual persecution and shooting, combined with human encroach- 
ment on its breeding grounds, have so reduced it in numbers that its 
future as an Oregon bird is precarious. 

Alex Walker has records of two nests, both taken near Miller, at the 
mouth of the Deschutes River, on April 19, 1935. One contained 13 eggs; 
the data are missing on the other. The nests were slight hollows in a 
grainfield and were lined with grasses, grains, stems, and feathers. 

Sage Hen: 

Centrocercus urophasianus (Bonaparte) 

DESCRIPTION. Tail longer than the wings, graduated, feathers pointed, neck with 
distensible air sacs surmounted by hairlike filaments and erect feathers; tarsus 
feathered to the toes. Adult male: "Upper parts mottled gray or buffy, irregularly 
spotted or barred with black or brownish; in breeding season tufts of white downy 
feathers, mixed with black egret-like wiry plumes on shoulders; yellow air sacs on 
side of throat; chest blackish before the breeding season, with black wiry feathers 
depending from the chest band; chest white after the breeding season, during which 
time the blackish tips are worn off by rubbing on the ground. Adult female: similar 
to male but smaller and without ruffs, air sacs, or nuptial plumes; throat white, 
chest band speckled grayish. Young: somewhat like adult female but brownish 
above, markings on under parts, including black of belly, less distinct." (Bailey) 
Downy young: "The sage-grouse chick is well colored to escape detection when 
crouching on the ground in the gray shadows of the desert. The crown, back, and 
rump are mottled and marbled with black, dull browns, pale buff, and dull white; 
the sides of the head and neck are boldly spotted and striped with black; there are 
two large spots of 'sayal brown' bordered with black, on the fore neck or chest; 
under parts grayish white, suffused with buff on the chest." (Bent) Si%e: "Male, 
length 2.6-30, wing iz-i}, tail 11-13. Female, length 2.1.50-2.3.00, wing about 
10.50-11.00, tail 8-9." (Bailey) Nest: A slight hollow near a sage bush, with little 
or no lining, eggs frequently being deposited on bare ground. Eggs: Usually 7 to 13, 
sometimes up to 17, olive or olive buff, quite evenly marked with small dark-brown 


DISTRIBUTION. General: Formerly from southern British Columbia, southern Sas- 
katchewan, and northwestern North Dakota south to northeastern California, New 
Mexico, and northwestern Nebraska. Now exterminated or greatly reduced over 
much of its range. In Oregon: Formerly over all of eastern Oregon, with possible 
exception of Wallowa County, for which we have found no records, but now greatly 
restricted and confined to big sagebrush counties of southeastern part of State, over- 
flowing in small numbers into some adjoining counties. 

THE LORDLY SAGE HEN, largest and most magnificent of the North Ameri- 
can grouse, has been greatly reduced in numbers in Oregon in the past 
few years. Up to 192.0, a wonderful population of these great birds 
remained on the slopes of Hart Mountain in eastern Lake County, but at 
that time they were suddenly reduced in numbers, possibly by disease, 
almost to the point of extermination. Since about 192.5, they have been 
slowly building back in the more isolated sections but nowhere have they 
reached their former abundance. Overgrazing, shooting, and the opera- 
tions of natural enemies, combined, are apparently too much for these 
birds, and their future in this State does not look bright. They will 
probably have the best chance on Hart Mountain, which is now a Federal 
game preserve designed primarily to protect antelope and Sage Hens. 

There have been for years a few small remnants of these magnificent 
birds in Union and Baker Counties that showed some tendency to build 
up in numbers. The hoggishness of a few local "sportsmen" in demand- 
ing and getting an open season, however, effectually blocked any hope 
that the Sage Hens might again become a common sight in these counties. 
There are still a few birds in Silvies Valley and also on Big Summit Prairie 
east of Prineville, but, aside from these scattered groups, the birds are 
in the vast sagebrush area of southeastern Oregon. We have found them 
in recent years most plentiful in Malheur, Harney, and Lake Counties, 
with small numbers in Crook, Deschutes, and Baker Counties. They 
may possibly be found in Klamath County also, as there have been, 
within the past few years, a few birds near the Oregon-California line on 
the east side of Lower Klamath Lake that might easily enter Oregon at 

Townsend (1839) ^ rst reported the Sage Hen from Oregon, and New- 
berry (1857) and Suckley (1860) reported it as a common bird. Bendire 
(1892.) took many sets of eggs during his stay at Camp Harney, the dates 
varying from April 4 to May 2.8. Since those times there has been much 
written about these great grouse, both in Oregon and elsewhere, as they 
attract the attention of everyone visiting their haunts. 

Early in the morning with the first golden streamers of light in the 
eastern sky, the Sage Hens come to water, flying with alternate periods 
of flapping wings and sailing to alight one hundred or two hundred yards 
back from the stream or pond. In the dim light they become invisible 
as soon as they land, but an occasional head, bobbing against the sky line 

PARTRIDGES AND QUAILS: family Pcrdicidae [ 2.19 ] 

betrays them as they come waddling into the water for all the world like 
a flock of barnyard hens. In an hour or two they have all gone, departing 
as they came, walking some distance away from the watering place 
before taking wing. 

The courtship of the Sage Hen is the most spectacular performance 
staged by any of the grouse. Finley at various times has watched and 
photographed this display and has given an account of it as follows (Bent 

When the sage cock starts to strut, his tail spreads and the long pointed tail feathers radiate 
out in a half arc. The air sacs are filled and extend nearly to the ground, hiding the black 
breast feathers. This is the first movement. Then the bird takes one or two steps forward 
and throws up the pouch, apparently by drawing back the head and neck. The next move- 
ment is a repetition of throwing the air sacs up and down and getting under headway for 
the last toss of the pouch, which is brought down with a jerk, as one would crack a whip, 
making a "plop" that on a quiet morning we easily heard for a distance of 2.00 to 300 yards. 
The whole movement gives one the idea that the bird inflates the air sacs and then, by the 
rigid position of the body and throwing the head and neck back, gives these air sacs a very 
vigorous shaking. In the movement when the pouch spreads, the bare yellow skin on the 
lower part of the pouch or chest shows clearly. As the pouch is thrown up and down, 
the wings are held rigid, the tips of the wing feathers sometimes touching the ground. The 
white feathers that cover the chest are exceedingly stiff; these grate against the wing feathers, 
giving out a wheezy sound that at first I thought came from the inhaling and exhaling of 
air. I soon discovered that this rasping noise was made by the stiff feathers rubbing together. 

The food of the Sage Hen consists largely of leaves of the sage, supple- 
mented by a few leaves and seeds of other plants, and by miscellaneous 
insects, including beetles of several kinds, ants, and grasshoppers. 

Partridges and Quails: Family Perdicidae 

European Partridge: 

Perdix perdix perdix (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. Smaller than a ruffed grouse but larger than our quail. "A very fine 
vermiculated intermixture of black, white, rusty and cream on back, neck, and 
breast, more rufous on lower back and nearly clear black and white with a general 
greyish effect on breast. Wing-coverts sharply shaft-streaked with cream. Flanks 
barred with white and chestnut. Face, throat, and superciliary line of tawny 
chestnut. A conspicuous double spot or horseshoe mark of rich chestnut occupies 
the upper abdomen. Sexes similar in coloration but female in duller tones." (Town- 
send, 192.6.) Downy young: "Crown chestnut with a few small black spots some- 
times extending to lines; back of neck with a wide black line down centre, at sides 
pale buff marked black; rest of upper-parts pale buff with some rufous and black 
blotches or ill-defined lines, at base of wings a spot, and on rump a patch, of chestnut; 
forehead and sides of head pale yellow-buff (sometimes tinged rufous) with spots, 
small blotches, and lines of black; chin and throat uniform pale yellow-buff; rest of 
under-parts slightly yellower, bases of down sooty." (Witherby, through Bent.) 
Si%e: Length 11.60, wing 6.50, tail 4.00. Nest: A slight depression in the ground, 
lined with dead leaves, grass, or straw. Eggs: 8 to 2.0, uniformly olive. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in western Europe. Introduced in many localities 


in North America. In Oregon: Introduced and now particularly common in Wallowa, 
Union, Umatilla, and Malheur Counties and in lesser numbers in practically all other 
eastern counties. Established on less successful scale in Multnomah and perhaps 
other Willamette Valley counties. 

THE FIRST European or Hungarian Partridges, now almost universally 
known as "Huns," were brought into Oregon in 1900 and released in 
the Willamette Valley, in Multnomah County, and in Marion County, 
where they still persist, although they have not greatly increased. In 
1913, 2.18 and in 1914, 1,52.2. were released in ~L^ counties of the State. They 
increased rapidly, particularly in Umatilla, Morrow, and Wallowa Coun- 
ties and can now be considered as one of the most abundant upland game 
birds in those counties. Since that time the Oregon Game Commission 
has trapped and moved numbers of them to various parts of eastern 
Oregon, where many counties are becoming well stocked. 

This plump-bodied little bird is a favorite with gunners and to date 
has caused far less complaint of crop damage than the China Pheasant. 
It is a fast, strong flier that gets away with blinding speed and seems 
able to hold its own in many parts of the State. It can be distinguished 
from any other of the gallinaceous birds in Oregon by the reddish-brown 
tail that is spread fanwise as the bird flies away. 

Eastern Bobwhite: 

Colinus virginianus virginianus (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Line through eye white; throat white, bordered below 
by black; rest of under parts buffy or brownish reddish brown on sides narrowly 
barred with black; upper parts reddish brown and black; scapulars, tertials, and 
lower back strikingly blotched with black. Adult female: like male, but black of 
head replaced by brown, and white by buffy. Young: upper parts rusty, more or less 
spotted with black, and feathers with white shaft streaks widening at tip; breast 
grayish or brownish, streaked with white; throat and belly whitish." (Bailey) 
Downy young: "In a typical chick the forehead and sides of the head are from 'ochra- 
ceous-tawny' to 'ochraceous-buff,' with a stripe of brownish black from the eye to 
the nape; a broad band from the hind neck to the crown, terminating in a point 
above the forehead, is 'chestnut,' deepening to 'bay' on the edges: there is a similar 
broad band of the same colors from the upper back to the rump; the rest of the upper 
parts is mottled with 'chestnut,' dusky, and buff; the chin and lower parts are pale 
buffer buffy white. In some specimens from the South the back and rump are almost 
wholly 'chestnut,' mixed with some black." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 9.50-10.75, 
wing 4.55, tail z.yo, bill .59." (Bailey) Nest: A shallow depression, lined with 
dead grass or other dry vegetation, frequently arched over with woven grass, either 
dead or growing, and artfully concealed. Eggs: iz to zo, usually 14 to 16, dull 
white to creamy white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds naturally from South Dakota, southern Minnesota, 
southern Ontario, and Maine south to Texas, Gulf coast, and northern Florida. 
In Oregon: Introduced and successfully established in many parts of State, particularly 
in Willamette Valley, northern Morrow and Umatilla Counties, along Columbia 
and Umatilla Rivers, Wallowa County, and along Snake River Valley near Ontario. 
Less successful in Rogue River Valley, but there in small numbers. 

PARTRIDGES AND QUAILS: family Perdicidae [ 2.2.1 ] 

THE EASTERN BOBWHITE, the most widely hunted native American upland 
game bird, was introduced into Oregon many years ago and is now quite 
widely distributed in the State. So far as known, it was introduced by 
Solomon Wright of Tangent, Linn County, in 1882., who brought six 
birds from Indiana and released them on his own farm. He stated that 
they began to multiply at once. The birds that have been known from 
Malheur County for so long came from the increase of Bobwhite planted 
in the Boise Valley, Idaho, in 1875 ^7 a g f o u p of local business men. The 
quail thrived and eventually spread into adjoining parts of Oregon. 
Since these early introductions Bobwhite have been released in various 
other parts of the State and have been established for many years. 

This species has thrived best in Upper Sonoran localities in eastern 
Oregon and at present is probably most abundant in the vicinity of 
Hermiston, Umatilla County, where it has found conditions very much 
to its liking. The luxuriant growth of sweet clover along the irrigation 
ditches furnishes much ideal cover, as does the sagebrush, which has 
grown into great thickets in low places just outside the ditches but is 
subirrigated by them. The irrigated lands along the Snake and Malheur 
Rivers in Malheur County have also provided suitable conditions, and 
these quail are equally abundant there. In Wallowa County, the quail 
have not increased to great numbers, but they are there in small numbers 
and have maintained themselves for many years. They are also present 
in smaller numbers in the cultivated sections of the Transition Zone of 
western Oregon. In every county in the Willamette Valley from Mult- 
nomah to Lane, the diversified farming practiced there provides condi- 
tions suitable for these quail. Throughout this valley, the beautifully 
marked little cocks sit on the fence posts and whistle their love notes. 
In the morning and evening particularly, they can be found on full parade 
engaged in whistling their musical bob-white, bob-bob-white to a concealed 
lady love a sight to bring a thrill to any observer. 

The young are beautifully patterned little balls of down that grow 
and develop flight feathers with amazing speed, being able to fly in a very 
few days after hatching. The birds remain through the summer and fall 
in coveys that roost together in a compact circle and often feed together 
in close formation. When startled, they burst from the ground with the 
suddenness of a bomb, traveling in all directions and, after landing, call 
back and forth until the group is reunited. 

Valley Quail: 

Lophortyx calif ornica vallicola (Ridgway) 

DESCRIPTION. Adult male: Crest chestnut and recurved, black; patches on back of 
head olive and dark brown, bordered front and sides by black and white lines; upper 
parts grayish brown with buffy or brown stripes along sides of back; throat black, 


bordered by white, breast bluish gray; belly scaled except for central deep-chestnut 
patch; flanks dark olivaceous or smoky brown, streaked with white. Adult female, : 
Head wichout black or white markings, general color grayish brown, belly scaled, 
without chestnut patch; chestnut on sides; sides streaked with white. Young: chest 
gray, marked with triangular white spots, belly faintly barred with grayish; upper 
parts brownish, streaked and spotted with whitish. (Adapted from Bailey.) 
Downy young: "In the small chick of this species the front half of the crown and sides 
of the head are 'ochraceous-tawny'; a broad band of 'russet,' bordered with black, 
extends from the center of the crown to the hind neck, and there is an auricular stripe 
of the same color; the rest of the upper parts are from 'ochraceous-buff' to 'warm 
buff,' striped, banded, or blotched with black; the chin and throat are white, and 
the rest of the under parts are grayish white, suffused with buff on the breast." 
(Bent) Si%e-' Length about 9.50, wing 4.35-4.70, tail 4.10-4.70. Nest: A slight 
hollow in the ground, lined with grass or leaves and well hidden. Eggs: 12. to 16, 
dull white to cream buff. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From Upper Klamath Lake and Rogue River Valley of 
southern Oregon south through California (except on coast) to Lower California. 
In Oregon: Native at least to Klamath, Lake, Jackson, and Josephine Counties. Now 
spread over entire State by transplanting. 

OWING TO the activities of sportsmens' organizations and the Oregon 
Game Commission, the Valley Quail is now widely distributed over the 
State. It is most abundant in the counties bordering on California, but 
can be found in goodly numbers in every other part of the State except the 
coast counties. We have had available a large series of skins taken from 
all over the State subsequent to the scrambling of local strains by trans- 
planting operations that date back to about 1870. The largest single 
operation seems to have been in 1914 when some 1,2.00 birds were trapped 
in Jackson and Josephine Counties and liberated in many places through- 
out the State. We find all the specimens to be L. c. valltcola. Three birds 
in the group, from Brownsboro, Jackson County, tend toward the darker 
L. c. californica, but to date we have found no birds of this race in Oregon. 
We would expect to find them in Coos and Curry Counties, if they are 
present at all, and unfortunately we have no specimens from that terri- 
tory. Newberry (1857) stated that the Valley Quail was common through 
the southern Oregon mountains and that he had taken specimens in the 
Willamette Valley. There is one L. c. californtca in the National Museum 
taken by Newberry in that valley, which, in view of the lack of any other 
birds of this subspecies in Oregon, we feel may well have been collected 
farther south on his trip and mislabeled. 

This little quail with its pert crest is a favorite all over the State. It 
is not so good a game bird as the Eastern Bobwhite, as it often runs to 
escape danger and does not work so well with dogs. It does, however, 
thrive better than its eastern cousin and has become a common and 
widely distributed bird in the past few decades. The rather harsh call 
note is a familiar sound to all bird lovers, and the sight of a covey running 
about in the gathering twilight is very common. 


The eggs are laid in April and May. Patterson reported numerous dates 
from the Rogue River Valley between April 16 and June 8. On the 
Klamath side of the Cascades he took eggs from May 2. to 2.0. 

Mountain Quail: 

Oreortyx picta palmeri Oberholser 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Crest black; upper parts deep olive brown, usually to crest, 
top of head bluish gray, stripes on sides of back buffy or yellowish brown, throat and 
flanks deep chestnut, flanks broadly banded with black and white; breast plain bluish 
slate. Adult female: crest usually shorter. Young: crest blackish, barred at end with 
pale brown, breast gray, marked with triangular spots, throat and belly whitish; 
upper parts grayish brown, specked with white. " (Bailey) Downy young: Much like 
next species. Si%e: "Length 10.50-11.50, wing 5.15-5.40." (Bailey) Nest: A 
shallow depression, lined with grass, dead leaves, pine needles, and other vegetable 
matter; well concealed. Eggs: 8 to 11, pale cream to buff (Plate 35). 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Humid coast strip from southwestern Washington to Mon- 
terey County, California. In Oregon: Permanent resident of coast counties and in 
Willamette Valley, including west slope of Cascades at least as far south as Eugene. 
(See Figure 6.) 

THE MOUNTAIN QUAIL of Oregon are divided into two subspecies this 
one, which is the resident bird of the coastal slope of Curry and Coos 
Counties and of the balance of the coast area north to the Columbia, 
including the birds found in the Willamette Valley and on the west slope 
of the Cascades north of Eugene, and the next form, to which belong 
the birds of the Rogue River Valley east of the coastal range and all of 
the specimens we have examined from eastern Oregon. We have not 
seen any birds from the Umpqua Valley and therefore cannot say to 
which form they belong. 

Douglas (182.9) first recorded the Mountain Quail from the Oregon 

FIGURE 6. Distribution of two forms of quail in Oregon: 
picta); i, Mountain Quail (0. p. palmer f). 

:, Plumed Quail (Oreortyx. picta 



Plate 35. Nest and eggs of Mountain Quail. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 

PARTRIDGES AND QUAILS: Family Perdicidae [ 2.2.5 ] 

country, and it has been listed by nearly all subsequent writers. Bendire 
(1892.) recorded a set of eggs taken near Coquille May 2.7, 1877, which 
was the first definite breeding record from the area now known to be 
inhabited by this subspecies. We have few actual nesting records avail- 
able, either in literature or in our own notes, but those we have show 
that the eggs are laid in late May and early June. Alex Walker has fur- 
nished data on six nests found by him in Clackamas and Tillamook 
Counties between May n and June 13, the number of eggs varying from 
8 to 15. Dr. Prill reported three nests at Scio, May 18, May 5, and May 
18, with 9, iz, and 15 eggs, respectively. 

The Mountain Quail is the largest member of the family found in 
Oregon and is essentially a brush and timberland bird. It is usually most 
common in cut-over lands or about the edges of clearings where it can 
find an abundance of wild berries and seeds to mix with the insects it 
consumes. As with other quail, the flight is strong and swift, the birds 
bursting cover like miniature bombs and diving again into the brush or 
weed patches after a short flight. It is also a very rapid runner on the 
ground, trusting to its heels to escape as frequently as it takes to the air. 

Plumed Quail: 

Oreortyx ficta picta (Douglas) 

DESCRIPTION. "Like 0. [p. pa/meri] picfus, but upper parts olive, the hind neck 
usually partly or wholly bluish slate like the breast; forehead generally paler, often 
whitish, inner edge of tertials lighter buff or buffy whitish." (Bailey) Downy 
young: "In the downy young a broad band of deep 'chestnut,' mixed with and 
bordered by black, extends the whole length of the upper parts, terminating in a 
point in the middle of the crown; the rest of the upper parts, including the cheeks, 
are buffy or buffy white, with large blotches of 'chestnut' on the wings, thighs, and 
flanks and with a dusky line behind the eye; the under parts are grayish white or 
yellowish white, palest on the chin." (Bent) Si%e: Length 9.50, wing 4.35-4.70, 
tail 4.10-4.70. Nesf and eggs: Like those of Valley Quail. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From northern Oregon east of Cascades south nearly to 
Mexican line. In Oregon: In almost every county of eastern Oregon and in Rogue 
River Valley (Jackson and Josephine Counties) west of Cascades. (See Figure 6.) 

THE PLUMED QUAIL, the paler, grayer form, is the one originally described 
by Douglas, so that his name now applies to the eastern and southern 
Oregon birds, although his notes included the race 0. p. palmeri as well. 
The 1931 A. O. U. Check-List gives the range of 0. p. picta as west of 
the Cascades in northwestern Oregon, but we have carefully compared 
our specimens and find that birds from Portland, Newberg, and Willa- 
mette Valley points are much closer to the coast form than to the eastern 
Oregon form. In fact, one Portland bird is actually darker than birds 
from Yachats, which is only a few miles from the type locality of the 
humid coast form. At present, the Plumed Quail, which in habits and 


behavior is like the Mountain Quail, though it frequents more open 
country, is still common in Lake, Klamath, Crook, Jefferson, Wasco, and 
Wallowa Counties and less abundant in almost all other counties of that 
section. It is also fairly common in the foothills around the upper Rogue 
River Valley. 

We have found no egg records in literature, and our only nesting record 
is of a set of eight eggs found by Gabrielson at Brownsboro, June 10, 19x1 . 
Patterson furnished records of five nests found in Jackson and Klamath 
Counties as follows: Ashland, May 8, 192.4, and April 2.6, 192.6; Pinehurst, 
May 6 and 10, 192.4, and May 2.6, 1931. 

Pheasants: Family Phasianidae 

Ring-necked Pheasant: 

Phasianus colchicus torquatus Gmelin 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Neck metallic greenish or bluish, back of head tufted; 
breast rich coppery chestnut, with metallic purple and coppery reflections; neck 
wholly or partly encircled by white collar. Adult female: tail brown, barred with 
black and white." (Bailey) Downy young: "Fore-head and sides of crown buff to 
yellow-buff with blackish line or spots down sides, centre of crown dark red-brown 
to blackish-brown; nape rufous; back of neck buff to yellow-buff with short blackish 
line in centre; rest of upper-parts rufous-buff with three wide black lines and wings 
with black blotches; sides of head pale yellow-buff to pale buff with a brownish 
streak from base of upper mandible and a black spot on ear-coverts; under-parts buff 
white to pale huffish-yellow, sometimes with a tawny tinge at base of throat." 
(Witherby, through Bent.) Si%e: "Male, length 30, wing 9.50-10.50, tail 17.50- 
zo.oo. Female, length 2.0-2.4, wing 8.50, tail n-iz." (Bailey) Nest: A slight 
hollow, often entirely without lining or at best scantily lined with dry vegetation. 
Eggs: 6 to 15, usually 10 to iz, brownish olive to buff. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Native to southeastern China, now widely introduced in 
North America. In Oregon: Introduced and now established in all parts except 
higher mountains. 

THE RING-NECKED PHEASANT, China Pheasant, Denny Pheasant, or Chink, 
was first shipped from China to Oregon in 1880, but the entire shipment 
of 70 birds died before reaching Portland. Undiscouraged, Judge O. N. 
Denny, then United States Consul General at Shanghai, sent 100 birds the 
following year, which were released in the Willamette Valley. They 
established themselves there and increased at an amazing rate for a num- 
ber of years, only to decrease again later until at present, despite the 
continued release of new birds, they occur only in small numbers com- 
pared to former years. Meanwhile, they have been transplanted into all 
parts of the State and have evidently found the counties about the base 
of the Blue Mountains most to their liking. They are abundant in 
Wallowa and Union Counties and in northern Umatilla and Morrow 

PHEASANTS: Family Phasianidae [ 12.7 ] 

Counties, the little town of Hermiston being headquarters for many 
hunting parties during the open season. They are most abundant in the 
Snake and Malheur River Valleys of Malheur County, where they are 
exceedingly numerous. On December 6 to 7, 1933, after an open season 
when they had been hunted hard, the writers saw several hundred birds 
in a few hours in the fields along the edge of the irrigated area. They 
are present, though seemingly not doing so well, in the high plateau 
country of Harney, Lake, and Klamath Counties. In western Oregon, 
they do not increase as rapidly in the southern counties or on the coast 
as they do in the Willamette Valley. Eggs are laid in April and May, 
although later sets are sometimes found in the latter part of June 
probably second sets following an earlier nesting disaster. 

The introduction of the China Pheasant has been a success for the 
sportsman, but many damages to crops are charged to the bird. Many 
farmers bitterly resent its presence, complaining that much ripening grain 
is eaten and ridden down. The chief damage is in trucking sections, where 
the pheasants are accused of destroying ripening melons by picking them 
open, of pulling newly set plants of lettuce, spinach, and cabbage, of 
pulling sprouting corn, peas, and beans, and of digging up newly planted 
seeds of these and other vegetables. We have investigated some of these 
complaints and found many of them to be based on facts. On the other 
hand, pheasants are great consumers of insects and on many farms may 
easily earn their keep by their destruction of grasshoppers and other 
injurious insects. We believe that in general-farming districts these birds 
do little real harm but that in truck- and vegetable-producing sections 
they are often nuisances and many times become pests of considerable 
importance to individual farmers. 

The Oregon Game Commission is now engaged in raising and liberating 
many thousands of these birds each year. In January 192.4, a shipment 
of Mongolian Pheasants (P. c. mongolicus) was imported direct from 
China and added to the breeding stock. Possibly other shipments came 
at other times and may help account for the somewhat mongrel crop of 
pheasants now found in Oregon. 

Order Oruif 


Cranes: family Gmidae 

Little Brown Crane: 

Grus canadensis canadensis (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. A smaller edition of the Sandhill Crane described next. Si%e: 
"Length 35, wing 17.502.0.00, bill, tarsus 6.708.44." (Bailey) Nest and 
eggs: Same as Sandhill Crane. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from northern and western Alaska, and Melville 
and Baffin Islands south to southern mainland of Alaska, southern Mackenzie, and 
Hudson Bay. Winters from California and Texas south into Mexico. In Oregon: 
Migrant in spring and probably fall. 

OUR KNOWLEDGE of the status of the Little Brown Crane in Oregon is 
very unsatisfactory. Merrill (1888) recorded it from Fort Klamath and 
listed a specimen taken on June 10. Jewett saw a single bird that was 
killed in March 1905 in Harney County and mounted as part of the 
county exhibit in the Lewis and Clark Fair in Portland. The following 
item from Jewett's notebook summarizes the data: 

November 6, 1911. Walter Donart has a mounted specimen without data that he claims 
was killed here (Klamath Falls) recently. I saw the Crane but took no measurements, 
although it was a small crane. 

We have lost track of this specimen and know no more about it. Anthony 
listed the species as common in fall and rare in the spring at Portland in 
the list he furnished for Mrs. Bailey's Handbook of Birds of the Western 
United States (Bailey 19021). We do not know on what evidence this state- 
ment was based, but we have been unable to find any western Oregon 
specimen whatever. Willett (1919) listed it as common in Harney County 
in April. In response to an inquiry, he stated under date of June 3, 1934: 

I do not know of any specimens [Little Brown Crane] having been taken in your State, but 
they were undoubtedly common in migration there in years gone by and probably come 
through in small numbers yet. I saw a good many of them in Harney Valley during the 
spring migration, as I noted in the Condor, but did not collect any. I was quite close to them 
and have no doubt as to their identity. 

Willett is especially familiar with the water birds, and we therefore feel 
that his records are entirely acceptable and probably represent a close 
approximation to the former status of the species in the State. At present, 


CRANES : Family Gruidae 

cranes are scarce and wary, and it is difficult to obtain any evidence on 
their status in Oregon without killing a number of birds, a thing that 
any ornithologist, in view of the few birds remaining, is loath to do. 

Sandhill Crane: 

Grus canadensis tabida (Peters) 

DESCRIPTION. "Crown and lores naked except for scattered black bristles; cheeks 
and jaw well feathered. Adults: whole plumage slaty gray or light brownish, wings 
darker; cheeks and throat lighter and sometimes whitish. Young: head entirely 
feathered; plumage rusty brown." (Bailey) Downy young: "The small downy young 
crane is complecely covered with thick, soft down and is very prettily colored. The 
color is deepest in the centers of the crown, hind neck and back and on the wings, 
where it is 'chestnut' or 'burnt sienna'; it shades off on the sides to 'ochraceous 
tawny' and on the throat and belly to dull grayish white." (Bent) (See Plate 
36, A) Si%e: "Length 40-48, wing zi.oo-zz.5o, bill 5.15-6.00, tarsus 9.90-10.65." 
(Bailey) Nest: A bulky mass of marsh vegetation with a slight depression in the 
top. Eggs: i to 3, almost always z, olive buff or drab, spotted with varying shades 
of brown (Plate 36, B). 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Mani- 
toba south to California, Colorado, Nebraska, Illinois, and Ohio. Winters 
south into Mexico. In Oregon: Formerly common summer resident of eastern 
Oregon, particularly of Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties, from late March to 
October. Elsewhere, migrant only, all of our own records from outside breeding 
territory being in April, September, and October. Now much diminished in num- 
bers and only occasionally noted, except in breeding areas. 

THE SANDHILL CRANE, most majestic of the wading birds, was first re- 
ported as a breeding bird by Bendire (1875) at Malheur Lake. Lewis and 
Clark (1814) recorded it as wintering near the mouth of the Columbia in 
1805 and 1806, surely a mistake, as there are no other records of the species 
remaining so far north during the winter. Mearns (1879) stated that 
Wittich found it breeding at Fort Klamath, and Merrill (1888) also 
reported it as a breeding bird. Willett (1919) estimated that about ^ 
pairs bred in the vicinity of Malheur Lake in 1918, and Prill (192.4) esti- 
mated 36 pairs bred in Warner Valley in 192.3. These numbers have 
further diminished in recent years, but a few pairs still breed in those 
areas. Our earliest date is March 18; our latest, November n (both 
Harney County). Approximately 100 pairs still nest on the great cattle 
ranches of the Blitzen Valley and in the area east of the Steens Mountains, 
but this is a rapidly disappearing species so far as Oregon is concerned. 

The Sandhill Crane formerly was reported by various observers as a 
common migrant in the Willamette Valley, but in recent years the sound 
of the raucous call of a flock of these huge waders passing far overhead 
in Indian file is sufficient to make the occasion a red-letter day for a 
western Oregon observer. The flight is steady and seemingly heavy, but 
it is really quick and swift for so ponderous a body. While in the air, 


CRANES: Family Gruidae [ 2-3 1 1 

the legs are trailed straight behind and the long neck is thrust straight 
ahead to the fullest extent and not folded, as in the herons. In the hazy, 
lazy days of Indian summer the cranes often take wing and rise to great 
heights, spiraling upward on set pinions until finally lost to view, 
although the hoarse croaking may still be audible. In the wind the 
crane is also a master aerialist, taking every advantage of the air currents 
to sustain itself without effort. 

The courting dance of these cranes is one of the most amazing sights 
of the bird world, the best account of which has been written by S. S. 
Visher (Bent 192.6) as follows: 

In the early spring, just after the break of dawn, the groups that were separated widely, 
for safety, during the night, begin flying toward the chosen dancing ground. These flocks 
of six or eight fly low and give constantly their famous, rolling call. The dancing ground 
that I knew best was situated on a large, low hill in the middle of a pasture of a section in 
extent. From this hill the surface of the ground for half a mile or more in every direction 
could be seen. As soon as two or three groups had reached this hill a curious dance com- 
menced. Several raise their heads high in the air and walk around and around slowly. 
Suddenly the heads are lowered to the ground and the birds become great bouncing balls. 
Hopping high in the air, part of the time with raised wings, and part with dropping, they 
cross and recross each other's paths. Slowly the speed and wildness increases, and the hop- 
ping over each other, until it becomes a blurr. The croaking, which commenced only after 
the dancing became violent, has become a noise. The performance continues, increasing in 
speed, for a few minutes, and then rapidly dies completely out, only to start again upon 
the arrival of more recruits. By 7 o'clock all have arrived, and then for an hour or so a 
number are constantly dancing. Occasionally the whole flock of two hundred or so break 
into a short spell of crazy skipping and hopping. By 9 o'clock all are tired and the flock 
begins to break up into groups of from four to eight and these groups slowly feed to the 
windward, diverging slowly, or fly to some distance. 

The huge nests (Plate 36, 5) are usually located far out in the larger 
marshes, and the newly hatched young are quickly able to run about with 
the parents, with whom they remain until well grown, the brown-looking 
fledglings (Plate 36, A) appearing quite unlike the slate-gray adults. 
There are eggs in the United States National Museum taken by Bendire 
in Harney Valley, as follows: May 2. and 13, 1875, April 2.7, 1876, April 
2.4, 1877, and April 14, 1888. Prill (192.2^) has taken them in Warner 
Valley, May 30; and Patterson, in Klamath County, May 16, 192.4. 

The Sandhill Crane is somewhat omnivorous in its feeding habits 
roots, bulbs, berries, grain, mice, frogs, snakes, and insects have all been 
reported as entering into its diet. The stomach of one taken by Gabrielson 
in Harney County (October n, 1934) was entirely filled with barley. 
Complaints are sometimes received from farmers regarding destruction of 
potatoes and grain by these huge birds, but such losses to date have been 
very local. The species has already been so sadly reduced in numbers that 
it seems impossible that it should become of any economic importance, 
even though it should become much more destructive than at present. 


Rails: Family Rallidae 

Virginia Rail: 

Rallus limicola limicola Vieillot 

DESCRIPTION. ''Adults: Upper parts olive brown, streaked with black; wing with 
a large chestnut patch; sides of head slaty gray, lores blackish, and chin white; 
throat and breast cinnamon brown; flanks black, barred with white. Young: 
plumage much mottled with black, but chestnut wing patch always present." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young Virginia rail is completely covered with 
long, thick, rather coarse, black down, glossed bluish on the head and greenish on 
the back. It can be distinguished from the young sora by the much longer bill, which 
is yellowish at the base and tip and crossed by a broad black band in the middle; 
there are also no orange bristles on the chin." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 8.iz-io.5o, 
wing 3.90-4.15, bill 1.45-1.60, tarsus 1.30-1.40." (Bailey) Nest: Of coarse grass 
and reeds, sometimes on the ground and sometimes woven into the tules, usually 
cleverly concealed. Eggs: 7 to iz, pale buff to white, irregularly spotted with vary- 
ing shades of brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Canada to Lower California, Utah, 
Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio Valley, and New Jersey. Winters south to 
Central America. In Oregon: Rarely observed summer resident. Scattered records 
throughout State. Most frequently seen in Klamath and Harney Counties. Winters 
in western Oregon at least occasionally. 

NEWBERRY (1857) reported the Virginia Rail as common in Oregon, but 
Mearns (1879) recorded the first known specimen taken in the State, from 
Fort Klamath, July 2., 1875. Since that time it has been reported by 
various students in Washington, Lincoln, Yamhill, Marion, Benton, Lane, 
Clackamas, and Multnomah Counties in western Oregon, and from Baker, 
Malheur, and Klamath Counties east of the Cascades. Our own notes are 
quite fragmentary, but we have seen it in Tillamook (February 5 and 
November 2.6), Harney (August 2.9), Wallowa (June 14), Klamath (April 
12. and September 16), and Multnomah (January 19 and August 10) 
Counties. The last date is the only record of special interest. On that 
day (August 10, 1914) Jewett saw an adult and a small downy young at 
Reed College Lake on the Eastmoreland Golf Course at Portland. Patter- 
son reported nests found in Klamath County on May 8, 16, and 2.3, 192.4, 
and Braly took two nests at Fort Klamath on May 14 and 16, 1930. 

This medium-sized rail is undoubtedly much more common in Oregon 
than either the literature or our notes indicate. It is exceedingly difficult 
to observe unless an intensive search is made of its haunts. It is flushed 
only by accident and can run through the dense jungles of aquatic vege- 
tation, in which it delights to live, at an astonishing rate. Its thin, 
flattened body is eminently suited to working through the thick grass, 
and its strong legs and big feet are able to carry it fast enough to outrun 
a dog. The startling cries and noises produced by this small bird are one 

RAILS: Family Ralltdae [ 2-33 ] 

of the surest guides to detecting its presence, if the observer is acquainted 
with them. An intensive search of the marshy areas of the State would 
undoubtedly add greatly to our knowledge of the status of the Virginia 


Por^ana Carolina (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Upper parts olive brown, spotted with black and finely 
lined with white; middle of crown, face, and throat black; breast and cheeks bluish 
gray, sides barred black and white; belly whitish; middle of lower tail coverts buff. 
Immature: similar to adult but without black face or bluish gray breast." (Bailey) 
Downy young: "The downy young sora is completely covered with thick, glossy, 
black down, except on the chin, which is ornamented by a small tuft of stiff, curly 
hairs of a 'deep chrome' color." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 7.85-9.75, wing 4.15-4.30, 
bill .75 .90, tarsus 1.2.5-1.35." (Bailey) Nest: Usually a fairly well-woven basket 
of flags or tules, anchored to the growing vegetation of the marshes. Eggs: 6 to 18, 
usually 10 or ix, buff ground color, irregularly spotted with browns of varying 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Canada to Lower California, Utah, 
Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio Valley, and Maryland. Winters south into South 
America. In Oregon: Summer resident in suitable marshes throughout State but 
most common in Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties. 

THE SORA, like the Virginia Rail, is without doubt much more abundant 
than the available records indicate, for unless one has time to devote to 
an intensive search of the marshes, it will seldom be seen. It is doubtless 
the commonest rail in the State. Its center of abundance is the great 
marsh country of south-central Oregon. Because of the lack of a suitable 
habitat, it is not a common bird in western Oregon at present, although 
Anthony (Bailey 1901) considered it as a tolerably common breeder in 
the vicinity of Portland. Our earliest date is April 17 (Sherman County); 
our latest, October 10 (Multnomah County); but records are too few to 
do more than indicate vaguely its present status. 

Townsend (1839) made the first published reference to the Sora as an 
Oregon bird. Merrill (1888) found it breeding at Fort Klamath, and 
there is a set of eggs taken there June 2. and 3, 1883, in the United States 
National Museum. Jewett found a nest at Klamath Falls on May 30, 
1916, containing 12. eggs and another the next day a few miles east of that 
town containing 3 eggs and 3 newly hatched young. Braly in 1930 took 
four sets of eggs in Klamath County between May 16 and June 5, 1930, 
and Patterson reported three sets in the same locality between May 2.0 
and June 8. Preble in 1915 found it a fairly common species in southern 
Malheur County and reported seeing young between July 12. and 14 at 
Sheaville. The only recent records known to us from western Oregon are 
those of a badly decomposed bird picked up in Portland and brought to 
Gabrielson in 19x8 (October 10) and of two brought to Jewett in 1931 
(April 2.4 and September 2.3). 


Yellow Rail: 

Coturnicops noveboracensis (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Upper parts dark buff, mottled with brown and black, feathers of 
back narrowly tipped with white in wavy cross-lines; wing dusky, with large white 
patch on secondaries; throat and breast plain buff or brownish; middle of belly 
whitish. Length: 6.00-7.75, w i n g 3.00-3.60, bill .50-. 60, tarsus .80-1.00." 
(Bailey) Nest: A mass of dry grass, usually skillfully concealed. Egg s: 8 to 10, 
pale buff, finely speckled with brown and cinnamon. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Found during breeding season over States and Provinces 
bordering international line east of Rockies but actually found breeding only in 
North Dakota and California. Winters in southern United States. In Oregon: 
Known only from a single specimen from Scio, Linn County. 

THIS RARE and elusive bird, the Yellow Rail, is included in the Oregon 
list on the basis of only a single female taken by Prill near Scio, on 
February i, 1900. This bird has been examined by Jewett and is correctly 
identified. It constitutes the sole record for the State. 

Farallon Rail: 

Creciscus jamaicensis coturniculus (Ridgway) 

DESCRIPTION.- "Adults: Upper parts blackish, finely speckled and barred with white, 
patch on nape chestnut brown, color extending to top of head, forehead slaty; under 
parts rich plumbeous, lower belly, flanks, and under tail coverts barred with white. 
Young: white restricted. Wing z.6x, tarsus .79, culmen ,.54 depth of bill at base of 
nostril .18." (Bailey) Nest: A flimsy structure of fine, dry weed stems. Eggs: 4 to 
8, with a creamy white to pure white ground color, "sparingly marked, chiefly at 
the larger end, with minute dots of browns and drabs." (Bent) 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Coast marshes of California and Lower California. Casual 
in Washington. In Oregon: Casual, only records at Malheur Lake. 

THE ADMISSION of the Farallon Rail to the Oregon list rests solely on 
Bendire's records. He stated: "A single specimen of the black rail was 
noticed April i6th near Lake Malheur" (1875), and "Seen on two occa- 
sions in the swamps near Malheur Lake, where it unquestionably breeds" 
(1877). ^ has not been seen or taken in the State since. 

American Coot: 

Fulica americana americana Gmelin 

DESCRIPTION. "Toes lobed or scalloped along edges; bill stout, nearly as long as 
head; frontal shield narrow, ending in a point on crown. Breeding plumage: bill 
white, with brown spot near end, frontal shield brown; whole head and neck 
blackish; rest of body plumbeous except for white under tail coverts, edge of wing, 
and tips of middle wing feathers. Winter plumage: belly whitish; frontal shield 
smaller than in summer. Young: like winter adults, but with white of belly extend- 
ing onto throat; bill dull flesh color, frontal shield rudimentary." (Bailey) Downy 
young: "The downy young coot is a grotesque but showy little chick; a black ball of 
down with a fiery head. The almost bald crown is but thinly covered with hairlike 

RAILS: Family Rallidae [2-35] 

black down; the upper parts are thickly covered with glossy black, long, coarse 
down, mixed with long, hairlike filaments, which vary in color from 'orange 
chrome' on the neck and wings to 'light orange-yellow' on the back; the lores, chin, 
and throat are covered with short, stiff, curly hairs, varying in color from 'flame 
scarlet' to 'orange chrome'; the bill is 'flame scarlet,' with a black tip; the under 
parts are thickly covered with dense, furlike down, very dark gray to almost black, 
with whitish tips." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 13-16, wing 7.1.5-7.60, bill (to base of 
shield)" (Bailey) Nest: A well-woven floating basket, anchored to 
growing tules or other aquatic vegetation. Eggs: 6 to 12., usually 8 to 12., buff 
ground color, thickly and evenly colored with fine dots of black or brown. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from central British Columbia, central Alberta, 
Manitoba, southern Quebec, and New Brunswick south into Mexico, Arkansas, 
and Tennessee. Winters south to West Indies and Costa Rica. In Oregon: Common 
year-around resident in every part of State where suitable nesting or resting grounds 
can be found. 

THE AMERICAN COOT, or "Mud-hen," is undoubtedly the most common 
nesting water bird in the State and is equally common as a winter resident 
wherever open water occurs (Plate 37, A). It was first seen in Oregon by 
Lewis and Clark (1814), who found it common at the mouth of the 
Columbia on November 30, 1805, where it is still common as a wintering 
bird. It has been recorded in every county except Jefferson, Grant, 
Wheeler, Sherman, and Morrow in eastern Oregon and Clackamas and 
Josephine west of the Cascades, and undoubtedly it could be found in all 
of those with the possible exception of Jefferson. 

There are definite nesting records for Washington, Yamhill, Benton, 
Lincoln, Multnomah, Coos, and Linn Counties in western Oregon, and 
for Umatilla, Baker, Malheur, Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties east 
of the Cascades, most of them from the great marshes of the four last- 
mentioned, and the list could undoubtedly be greatly enlarged by inten- 
sive field work through the breeding season, as a pair or two is almost 
certain to be found on any permanent body of water large enough to 
furnish suitable feeding and nesting grounds. Their black bodies with 
their white bills riding high in the water are familiar sights to every 
school boy, and their harsh cackling voices are equally well known. The 
extreme dates of many nesting records are April 30 and June n, but the 
eggs are usually laid between May 10 and June i, and fleets of the funny 
little red-headed babies following their parents about are usually very 
much in evidence by mid-June. 


Plate 37, A. American Coots. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and Irene Finley.) 

Plate 37, B. Black Oyster-catchers. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 

wrder v/naraarnr< 


Oyster-catchers: family Haematopodidae 

Black Oyster-catcher: 

Haematopus bachmani Audubon 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Head and neck dull bluish black; rest of plumage brownish 
black. Young: duller, more brownish." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young 
black oyster catcher is a swarthy little fellow, clothed in short, thick, dark, grizzly 
down, a color pattern well suited for concealment among the dark rocks where it 
lives. The down of the upper parts is basally sooty black and very dark gray, but 
the pale buffy tips give the bird its grizzly appearance. There is an indistinct loral 
and postocular stripe and two broad, more distinct, parallel stripes down the back 
of brownish black and two blackish areas on the thighs; between the back stripes 
and on the rump the buff tips produce a transverse barred effect. The under parts 
are dull grays, darkest on the throat and breast and lightest on the belly; the sides 
are faintly mottled or barred." (Bent) Si^e: "Length 17.00-17.50, wing 9.60- 
10.75, bill 2.. 50-2.. 95, tarsus 1.85-2.. 15." (Bailey) Nest: Usually a hollow in the 
bare rock, lined with bits of rock and shell. Eggs: i to 4, usually 2. or 3, cream buff 
to olive buff, covered with spots and scrawls of brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Aleutian Islands and from Prince William Sound, 
Alaska, south to Lower California. Winters from southern Alaska to Lower Cali- 
fornia. In Oregon: Regular but not abundant permanent resident of coast rocks and 

THE BLACK OYSTER-CATCHER was described by Audubon (1838) from birds 
taken at the mouth of the Columbia River, probably by Townsend. Since 
that time little has been written about it. It is rapidly decreasing in 
numbers on the coast, as roads open up and beach resorts are developed, 
and each year we see fewer of them. Those that remain are wild and 
difficult to approach, showing a decided inclination to remain on the 
offshore rocks (Plate 37, B). The flight is strong and direct but rather 
slow, and the harsh voice will carry through the noisy roar of the surf, 
even when the latter is so deafening as completely to drown all other 
bird voices. Prill (1901) found eggs on Otter Rock, Lincoln County, on 
June 2.9, 1899, and Woodcock (1902.) listed the species from Yaquina Bay. 
Finley (1902. and 19050!) found it breeding on Three Arch Rocks in both 
years, and Jewett found a nest on a bare rock there, July 3, 1914. Gabriel- 
son saw a pair of adults and four partly grown young near Newport, 
July 4, 19x6, and Braly collected a set of eggs at Otter Rock, June 3, 1932.. 
We have numerous sight records and specimens from various points be- 
tween Clatsop and Curry Counties for every month. 



Plovers, Turnstones, and Surf-birds: Family 

Western Snowy Plover: 

Charadrius nivosus nivosus (Cassin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill longer than middle toe without claw, slender, and entirely 
black. Chest band reduced to a spot at each side of breast. Adults in summer: crown 
and back pale buffy gray; face and under parts white; wide bar across front of crown, 
ear patch, and spot at side of chest black. Adults in winter: black replaced by dusky 
gray. Young: similar to winter adults, but with feathers of back tipped with white." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young snowy plover is quite unlike the young 
piping plover. The entire upper parts are pale buff, 'cream buff' to 'cartridge buff' 
mixed with grayish white. The crown, back, rump, wings and thighs are dis- 
tinctly and quite evenly spotted with black. The under parts are pure white." 
(Bent) (See Plate 38, /4.) Si%e: "Length 6.15-7.00, wing 4.10-4.30, bill about 
.60, tarsus .90-1.05." (Bailey) Nest: A hollow in the sand, lined with bits of shell 
and pebbles. Eggs: Sometimes z, usually 3, olive buff, marked more or less evenly 
but not heavily with black and gray. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Washington, northern California, and northern 
Utah south to Lower California. Winters from Oregon south along coast to Mexico. 
In Oregon: Permanent resident of the coast and rare summer resident of Harney 

THE ONLY REFERENCE in Oregon literature (except for our own records) 
to the Western Snowy Plover, the pale little ghost of the sand dunes, is 
that by Woodcock (1901), who reported it from the coast on Anthony's 
statement. As a matter of fact, it is a permanent resident of such spits 
as those at Bayocean, Netarts, Siletz, and Pistol River, where its lacy 
tracks are in evidence everywhere among the thick evergreen patches of 
the sand verbena (Abronia) that grow above high-tide line in the dry 
sand dunes that it frequents. It is a silent little bird, running ahead of 
the observer on swift feet, only to blend almost indistinguishably into 
the sand the moment motion stops. Currier took sets of eggs in Tillamook 
County on July 13 and 14, 192.1, and newly feathered young can occa- 
sionally be seen on sand areas there and elsewhere. 

In winter the Snowy Plovers gather into small flocks of a dozen or less 
that frequent the dry dunes during stormy weather but often venture out 
on the wet beaches to feed to and fro with the movement of the surf. 
Though not as expert as Sanderlings in such maneuvers, they can be seen 
engaged in them at almost any tide. We have numerous winter specimens 
and records for the coast, particularly in Tillamook and Lincoln Counties, 
where this bird seems most common. 

It is a rare species inland. Lewis saw three on Silver Lake, Harney 
County, on July 4, 1912., and Cantwell reported it from Malheur in 1916, 
from April 2.0 to May i. Our only inland records are from Harney Lake, 

PLOVERS, TURNSTONES, AND SURF-BIRDS : Family Cbaradriidac [2.39] 

where on June 12., 192.2., Jewett saw some birds on the lake bed and where 
on May 2.6, 192.3, he watched a pair for some time. One bird was building 
a nest. Several sand hollows had been partially scooped out, and the 
process of scooping was still going on at the time he found the birds. 

Semipalmated Plover: 

Charadrius semipalmatus Bonaparte 

DESCRIPTION. "Size small; distinct basal webs between front toes; bill very small 
and short, less than middle toe without claw, the basal half yellow in adults. 
Adults in summer: throat encircled by a black collar, bordered above on back of neck 
with a white band; face black, with a white bar across forehead; upper parts brown- 
ish gray, under parts white. Adults in winter: black of summer plumage replaced by 
dirk gray. Young: like winter adults, but with feathers of upper parts edged with 
buffy. Length: 6.50-7.50, wing 4.65-5.00, bill .48-. 55, tarsus .95-1.05." (Bailey) 
Nest: A slight depression, sometimes lined with dry vegetation. Eggs: 3 or 4, buff 
with bold markings of dark brown or black. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from coast of Bering Sea to Baffin Island and Green- 
land, south to the Yukon, British Columbia, James Bay, New Brunswick, and Nova 
Scotia. Winters from central California, Louisiana, and South Carolina southward 
to southern Argentina. In Oregon: Regular migrant along coast in both spring and 
fall. Casual inland. 

LITTLE ATTENTION has been paid to shore birds in Oregon, and conse- 
quently little is on record regarding the Semipalmated Plover. Woodcock 
(1902.) recorded it from Yaquina Bay, and Nichols (1909) saw it on the 
coast, July 2.6, 1908. We have found it to be a regular but by no means 
common migrant, most abundant in May and August, occurring usually 
as single birds frequenting the sand beach above the high-tide line. The 
earliest spring date is March 10, in Lincoln County (Bretherton, ms. 
reports, Biological Survey); and the latest, May 2.0, in Tillamook County. 
In the fall we have found it on the coast from July xi to August 31 (both 
Lincoln County). We have no inland records, but Laing (ms. notes, 
Biological Survey) reported a few seen near Portland on August Z4 and 


Oxyechus vociferus vociferus (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Chest crossed by two black bands, the upper encircling the 
neck; forehead, collar, and under parts white; front of crown black; rump and sides 
of tail bright ochraceous yellow; rest of upper parts dull olive brown. Young: 
similar to adults but duller, with much rusty on back." (Bailey) Downy young: 
"The most distinctive feature of the downy young killdeer is the long, downy tail, 
black above and elsewhere barred with 'pinkish buff' and black with long, hair-like, 
buffy down below protruding beyond the rest of the tail; the forehead, chin, throat, 
a ring around the neck and the under parts are pure white, except for a tinge of 
pinkish buff in the center of the forehead; a broad, black stripe above the forehead 
extends around the crown to the occiput; a black stripe extends from the lores, below 


Plate 38, A. Downy young Western Snowy Plover. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 

Plate 38, B. Nest and eggs of Killdeer. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 


the eyes to the occiput; there is a broad black stripe entirely around the neck, below 
the white; the crown, auriculars, back and inner half of the wings are grizzled 
'vinaceous buff' and dusky; there is a black space in the center of the back and a 
black band across the wing between the grizzled inner half and the white distal 
half." (Bent) Si%e: "Length io.oo-ii.i5, wing 6.10-6.75, bill .70-. 90, tarsus 1.40- 
1.55." (Bailey) Nest: Usually a depression, with only the barest attempt at lining 
with bits of dry vegetable matter or small pebbles, although sometimes fairly well 
lined. Eggs: Usually 4, rarely 3 or 5, light buff or cream ground color, heavily 
marked with brown and black. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Mackenzie, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, 
Ontario, Quebec, and Maine southward to Gulf States and Mexico. Winters from 
British Columbia, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Massa- 
chusetts south into West Indies and Central America. In Oregon: Abundant per- 
manent resident of every part of State, remaining through winter in small flocks 
wherever there is open water. Common summer resident of every county. 

SINCE TOWNSEND (1839) first listed the Killdeer from Oregon, every orni- 
thologist who has worked in the State has reported it. Bendire (1877) 
recorded it as a breeding species about Camp Harney, and we have since 
learned that it nests in every part of the State (Plate 38, B). In published 
records and in our own notes there are many egg dates between April 10 
and June 12., but it is certain that the first date does not anywhere nearly 
approach the beginning of the nesting season, as we have on several 
occasions noted adults followed by newly hatched young between April 
12. and 2.2.. Most of the records refer to Jackson County, where it is 
evident incubation begins at least as early as mid-March. The beautifully 
marked downy young are able to travel soon after breaking the shell and 
move almost immediately to the nearest water. They are a familiar sight 
along the small ponds and streams from May to July as they feed about 
with the adults. Despite their conspicuous gray and white pattern, the 
youngsters blend beautifully with the landscape and are almost invisible 
so long as they remain motionless. 

In summer, the Killdeers gather into flocks, sometimes of several thou- 
sand, and feed over the wetter meadows. At Malheur Lake, on August 
19, 1932., Gabrielson watched for some time a flock that he estimated 
contained two to three thousand birds flying about the meadows and 
occasionally alighting for a time. The flight is direct, rapid, and some- 
what ternlike in its gracefulness, the flocks being masters of the aerial 
evolution so commonly performed by members of the sandpiper family. 

In winter the birds remain in small companies that feed about the 
ponds or along the shores of open streams. We have definite winter 
records for Crook, Grant, Baker, Umatilla, Wallowa, Malheur, and 
Klamath Counties in eastern Oregon, a list that could doubtless be ex- 
tended by a little intensive field work. In western Oregon, the Killdeers 
winter commonly in every county and sometimes during heavy rains 
appear in numbers on large lawns, such as the campus of Oregon State 
College at Corvallis. 


Like many other less common ground-nesting birds in the State, the 
Killdeers habitually feign injury to decoy an intruder away from the 
nest. Individuals vary greatly in their expertness at this ruse. We have 
watched them lie flat on the ground screaming lustily and beating their 
wings frantically, only to resume a normal posture and run a few steps 
to start the performance again. Some act so realistically as they flop 
along the ground barely beyond reach that the observer is certain every 
bone in their little bodies is broken. The performance is continued until 
the intruder is decoyed a safe distance from the nest, when the Killdeer 
takes wing screaming triumph. Occasionally both parents take part in 
the act, although it is usually carried out by the one that happens to be 
on the nest at the time of the intrusion. 

American Golden Plover: 

Pluvialis dominica dominica (Midler) 

DESCRIPTION. "Hind toe wanting, bill small and slender. Adults in summer: upper 
parts black or dusky, spotted with bright yellow and white; face, throat, and belly 
black, bordered with a line of white; tail dusky, barred with gray or yellow. Adults 
in winter: under parts mottled dusky gray; back less golden than in summer. Young: 
like winter adults, but with upper parts more golden, and yellow wash over neck 
and breast. Length: 9.50-10.80, wing 6.807.40, bill .80-1.00, tarsus 1.551.82.." 
(Bailey) Nest: A hollow in the open tundra, lined with dead leaves. Eggs: Usually 
4, sometimes 3 or 5, buff to cream color heavily marked with very dark browns or 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Point Barrow, Alaska, Baffin Island, and North 
Devon Island south to Keewatin and Mackenzie. Winters far south in South 
America. In Oregon: Rare fall migrant along coast with only three definite records, 
all in recent years. 

THE AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, with its handsome spring plumage, is 
unknown as an Oregon bird up to this writing, and in the light of present 
knowledge it can be classed only as a casual migrant. Woodcock (1902.) 
listed it as a migrant at Yaquina Bay, but the first Oregon specimen was 
one taken by Jewett (1914^) at Netarts on September 7, 1912.. It was not 
again found in the State until September ix, 1916, when Jewett took two 
near the California line in Curry County. The third record is of a single 
bird taken by Overton Dowell, Jr., at Mercer, Lane County, in August 
19x9, and now in his collection. 

Black-bellied Plover: 

Squatarola squat arola (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Hind toe minute; bill rather short. Adults in summer: face, throat, 
and belly black, bordered with white; upper parts spotted with black and white; 
upper tail coverts white at base; outer half of tail barred with dusky. Adults in 
winter: under parts white, overlaid, streaked, and mottled with dusky and gray, 
becoming creamy or white on anal region; upper parts spotted with gray and dusky. 

PLOVERS, TURNSTONES, AND SUR F-BIRDS : Family Charadmdae [2.43] 

Young: like winter adults, but spotted above with light yellow, gray, and black. 
Length: 10. 50-12.. oo, wing 7.50, bill, tarsus 1.95." (Bailey) Nest: A slight 
depression, lined with a few bits of grass and leaves. Eggs: 4, with a pink, green, 
or brown ground color, usually most heavily spotted with dark brown about the 
larger end. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Arctic Coast from Alaska to Keewatin and on 
islands to north. Winters from western Washington on coast, Texas, Louisiana, 
and Virginia far south into South America. In Oregon: Uncommon migrant and 
winter resident along coast. 

THE BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, with its checkered back and black breast and 
belly, is one of the handsomest and most striking of all shore birds, but 
unfortunately it seldom stops on the Oregon coast while in this showy 
attire. It seems far more abundant at Grays Harbor, Washington. In 
fact, the only spring record for Oregon known to us is of a small flock 
found by the authors together on the beach near Netarts, May 2., 1911. 
Fall records are more numerous. The first specimen taken in Oregon is 
one now in the United States National Museum labeled "Columbia 
River, October 2.1, 1836" and is listed by Cassin (Baird, Cassin, and 
Lawrence 1858) as an Oregon bird. Johnson (1880) reported the species 
as a Willamette Valley migrant, Nichols (1909) found it on the coast, 
July 2.6, 1908, and Walker (192.4) saw two and took one at Netarts, 
October i, 1911. Our earliest fall record is August 13 (Tillamook County). 
We have two winter records for the Lincoln County coast, taken by 
Gabrielson January 2.0 and November 2.4. In addition, we have noted it 
on August 13, 15, and 2.0, September 30, and October 19 and 2.0, all in 
Lincoln and Tillamook Counties. In fall and winter plumage, this 
grayish-looking bird with grayish-white under parts blends so well with 
the dry sand of the dune edges it loves to frequent that it often escapes 
notice so long as it remains motionless. 


virgata (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Base of tail, upper coverts, and a broad bar on wing white. Adults 
in summer: upper parts, head, neck, and chest, slaty gray, specked and streaked with 
whitish, and spotted on scapulars with rufous; belly white, specked with dusky. 
Adults in winter: like summer adults, but with upper parts, head, and neck plain 
dusky or slaty gray. Young: back brownish gray, feathers edged with white; throat 
and breast white, streaked with dusky. Length: 10, wing 7, bill .95-1.00, tarsus 
1.2.0-1.2.5." (Bailey) Nest: A slight natural depression, lined with bits of lichens 
and moss. Eggs: 4, buff, marked with splashes and spots of brown and fawn. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in mountains of south-central Alaska. Winters 
from Queen Charlotte Islands south to Straits of Magellan. In Oregon: Regular 
winter visitor to coast. Arrives in August and remains until April. 

TOWNSEND (1839) took the first Oregon specimen of the little-known 
Surf-bird on November i, 1836, at the mouth of the Columbia River. 


Woodcock (1901) recorded it from Yaquina Bay from Bretherton's re- 
ports. We have found it to be a regular but not common inhabitant of 
the coast, frequenting the rocky headlands, feeding on the mussels and 
barnacles exposed by low tide, and resting on the higher rocks when 
the tide is high. It is most abundant in April and October but is present 
in numbers all through the winter (earliest date, August 5, Lincoln 
County; latest, April 2.7, Clatsop County). In behavior and actions it 
resembles the Black Turnstone, and scattered individuals are often found 
feeding with their smaller cousins. Occasionally the early birds arriving 
from the north still have the beautifully marked breeding plumage, 
although most of them are in the duller winter dress. 

Ruddy Turnstone: 

Arenaria interpret morindla (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Throat and belly white, chest crossed by a broad black 
band; back coarsely mottled with rufous and black; head variously streaked. 
Young: similar to adult but duller, without rufous on back, and with the chest band 
mottled dusky gray. Length: 9.00-9.90, wing 6.00, bill .80-. 90, tarsus i." (Bailey) 
Nest: A slight depression, scantily lined with grass and leaves. Eggs: 4, olive to 
olive-buff, marked with warm browns. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from western Alaska to Southampton and western 
Baffin Island. Winters from central California, Texas, Louisiana, and North Caro- 
lina southward into South America. In Oregon: Irregular fall and rare spring 
migrant on coast. 

THE FIRST KNOWN specimen of the Ruddy Turnstone from Oregon was 
taken by M. E. Peck at Seal Rocks, Lincoln County, on August 2.8, 1914. 
It was not again recorded until 192.1, when between August z} and 1.7 
the writers took five at Netarts. Since that time it has been found more 
frequently, and in addition to the numerous skins in our collections, we 
have seen birds from Lane County in the Dowell collection and from 
Clatsop County in the Braly collection, all taken between Julv 2.4 and 
August 31, except three that Dowell took at Mercer on May 14, 192.2.. 
The latter furnish the only spring records for the State, although more 
extensive collecting would probably reveal the species as a more regular 
migrant. Most of the birds are in juvenile plumage and are found on the 
sand spits and long beaches rather than on the rocky headlands with 
their darker cousins. 

Black Turnstone: 

Arenaria melanocephala (Vigors) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer: Crown and upper back black, with greenish 
bronzy gloss; rest of head, neck, throat, and chest black, spotted on forehead and 
sides with white; a white spot in front of eye; belly and sides white. Adults in 
winter: similar, but with head, neck, and chest unspotted, sooty black. Young: head 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolopacidae [ 145 ] 

more grayish than in winter adults and feathers of back edged with buffy. Length: 
9, wing, 5.80-6.10, bill .85-1.00, tarsus" (Bailey) Nest: A shallow de- 
pression in the dead grass, little or no lining. Eggs: 4, olive to buffy olive, marked 
with various shades of olive gray and yellowish olive, with scattered spots and 
streaks of brownish black. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Bering Straits south to Sitka. Winters on 
coast south to Lower California. In Oregon: Common migrant and winter resident. 
Arrives in August and remains until late April. Casual straggler away from coast. 

THE BLACK TURNSTONE is another species to which little attention has 
been paid by previous workers. Woodcock (1902.) reported it from 
Yaquina Bay on Bretherton's authority, but no one else has written 
anything regarding it. We have found it to be a common and at times 
abundant migrant and winter resident (earliest date, July zo, Lincoln 
County; latest, May 2., Tillamook County). It usually reaches its greatest 
numbers in September but is common through the winter on the rocky 
reefs and headlands. There the birds feed on the rocks exposed by ebb 
tide, being exceedingly expert at taking wing at the last possible moment 
before being sent tumbling by the breaking surf. When startled, they 
spring from the rocks, dive toward the water, and quickly gather into 
a compact flock, wheeling and circling low over the water before again 
alighting on the exposed rocks. We have specimens from scattered locali- 
ties on the coast from Clatsop to Curry County, and they may be looked 
for in rocky places anywhere along the shore. We consider it the most 
common wintering shore bird in the State, with the single exception of 
the Killdeer. 

The only inland record is of a bird killed at Wapato Lake, Washington 
County, November n, 1913, by George Russell and now in Jewett's 

Snipe and Sandpipers: Family Scolopacidae 

Wilson's Snipe; Jacksnipe: 

Cap el I a de lie at a (Ord) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill long and slender, mandibles grooved, roughened, and widened 
toward end; tip of upper overreaching the lower mandible; nostril small and at edge 
of feathers. Crown buff, with side stripes of black; back mainly black with 
stripes falling into two middle lines of buff and two outer lines of whitish; neck 
and breast spotted and streaked with buff, brown, and dusky; sides barred with 
black and white; belly white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The young snipe in its 
dark and richly-colored natal down is one of the handsomest of the young waders. 
The upper parts, including the crown, back, wings, and thighs, are variegated or 
marbled with velvety black, 'bay,' 'chestnut,' and 'amber brown'; the down is 
mainly black at the base and brown-tipped; the entire upper parts are spotted with 
small round white spots at the tips of some of the down filaments, producing a beau- 
tiful effect of color contrasts and a surprisingly protective coloration. The head is 


distinctly marked with a white spot on the forehead, a black crescent above it and 
a black triangle below it, partially concealed by brown tips; there is a distinct 
black loral stripe, extending faintly beyond the eye, and a less distinct black malar 
stripe; between these two is a conspicuous, large, white, cheek patch. The chin 
and upper throat are 'light ochraceous buff'; below this on the lower throat is a 
large sooty-black area, partially concealed by brown tips, these 'tawny' brown 
tips predominating on the breast and flanks, and shading off to 'pale pinkish cinna- 
mon* on the belly." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 10.50-11.15, wing 4.90-5.60, bill 1.50- 
1.70, tarsus 1. 10-1.30." (Bailey) Nest: A slight depression in the ground, lined 
with grass. Eggs: Usually 4, rarely 3 or 5, olive gray or buff, heavily spotted and 
blotched with dark brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Yukon River, Mackenzie, northern Ontario, 
Ungava, and Newfoundland south to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, 
Colorado, Utah, and northern California. Winters regularly from Washington, 
British Columbia, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, and Vir- 
ginia southward into South America and occasionally farther north about Warm 
Springs. In Oregon: Permanent resident that breeds in suitable places throughout 
State and winters wherever open water prevails. More common in summer east of 
Cascades and more abundant in winter west of that range. 

WILSON'S SNIPE, or Jacksnipe (Plate 39, A), was first seen in the territory 
now included in Oregon by Lewis and Clark (1814) in 1805-06 and was 
next recorded by Townsend (1839). Newberry (1857) found it common 
about the Klamath Lakes. Cassin (Baird, Cassin, and Lawrence 1858) 
listed a bird from Fort Dalles on November 16, and Suckley (1860) stated 
that several wintered there in 1854-55. Merrill (1888) first recorded it 
as a breeding bird from Fort Klamath, the territory where it still breeds 
most commonly in the State. Nearly every writer since then has men- 
tioned the species as a breeding or wintering bird. There are definite 
breeding records for Klamath (Merrill; Jewett, 4 nests, May 15-31; Braly, 
3 nests, May 10-17; Patterson, 2. nests, May 2.0 and 2.4; Furber; and 
numerous others); Douglas (Hardy); Multnomah (Finley); Marion (John- 
son); Linn (Prill); Lake (Prill); Malheur (Becker and Preble); and Benton 
(Woodcock) Counties, and it doubtless breeds in many other counties 
where swampy ground is found. 

It winters sparingly in eastern Oregon. Our own notes show winter 
records for Umatilla (December 10), Deschutes (several, January), Kla- 
math (December 10, January 2.5), Wallowa (January 16, February 10), 
and Malheur (January 3) Counties, and the published literature contains 
winter records for Harney (February 15) and Wasco (all winter) Counties. 
Other winter records in the manuscript notes of Biological Survey mem- 
bers are for Klamath (January 9, Furber), Harney (Malheur Lake, Decem- 
ber 18, 1913), and Jackson (January 15, Heckner) Counties. The last 
bird was in a small spring-fed meadow on the slopes of Mount McLough- 
lin at about 5,000 feet altitude. Winter records west of the Cascades are 
numerous and from every section of the territory. 

This plump-bodied, long-billed, brown bird, exploding from the ground 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolopacidae [ 147 ] 

Plate 39, A Young Wilson's Snipe. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 

Plate 39, B. Long-billed Curlew chicks. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohl- 


with a startling scarp, scarp from beneath the very feet of an observer, to 
corkscrew through the air for a short distance before dropping again 
into the grass, is a familiar sight to most Oregonians interested in the 
out-of-doors. The boring made in the soft mud in searching for earth- 
worms and similar delicacies that are neatly seized by the flexible tips of 
the bill and extracted from their subterranean homes with skill and dis- 
patch is likewise quite familiar. Less well-known but common in the 
spring evenings, though not always staged in the twilight, is the curious 
"winnowing" sound this snipe makes in connection with its courtship 
antics. Most observers believe the sound to be produced by the widely 
spread tail feathers, by the wing, or by a combination of both during 
the courtship flights. 

On October i, 192.7, while hunting birds together on the Columbia 
bottoms east of Portland on a foggy rainy day, we saw a flock of about 
X5 heavy-bodied, long-billed snipe flash into view through the mist. 
They were in close formation, wheeling and turning abruptly in synchro- 
nized motion, exactly as is commonly done by the smaller shore birds. 
We first thought they were dowitchers, but the birds looked too big. 
Finally the flock swung close and we fired into it, bringing down one 
bird. To our astonishment, it proved to be this species. We have seen 
only one other published account of such a performance by the Jacksnipe, 
and neither of us has ever witnessed it except on that occasion. 

Long-billed Curlew: 

Numemus americanus americanus Bechstein 

DESCRIPTION. "Plumage light cinnamon, barred and mottled on upper parts with 
dusky and black; outer webs of outer quills wholly black; head, neck, throat, and 
chest streaked with dusky; crown mainly dusky; belly plain cinnamon; chin 
whitish." (Bailey) Downy young: "The young curlew, when first hatched, is com- 
pletely covered with long, thick, soft down. The color varies from 'warm buff"' on 
the breast and flanks, to 'cream buff" on the face, upper parts and belly and to 'cream 
color' on the throat; the crown is even paler. The markings, which are brownish 
black in color, consist of a broken and narrow median stripe on the forehead, irreg- 
ular spotting on the posterior part of the head and large, bold, irregular spotting 
on the back, wings, and thighs." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 2.0-2.6, wing 10.00-11.00, 
bill 2.. 50 in young of year to 8.50 in old birds, tarsus 3.00-3.50." (Bailey) Nesf: 
A slight depression in the ground, lined with grass. Eggs: 4, buff, with uniform 
spotting of browns and olives (Plate 40, A). 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, 
Manitoba, and Wisconsin south to Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Ari- 
zona, Nevada, and northern California. Winters from central California, Arizona, 
Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina south to Mexico and Lower California. In 
Oregon: Rather uncommon summer resident and breeding bird of eastern Oregon. 
Arrives in April and remains until August. Casual west of Cascades. 

TOWNSEND (1839) first listed the Long-billed Curlew (Plate 39, B~) for 
Oregon, and Suckley (1860) reported it as a breeding bird near The Dalles. 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolofacidae [ 149 ] 

It formerly bred commonly in the grassy meadows of eastern Oregon, 
particularly in Klamath, Lake, Harney, Umatilla, Union, and Baker 
Counties, and still is to be found nesting in most if not all of these coun- 
ties in limited numbers (earliest date, April 3, Umatilla County; latest, 
August 2.5, Harney County, Bailey ms.). In recent years we have found 
it in small numbers in Umatilla, Morrow, Lake, and Harney Counties in 
the breeding season. Egg dates in our own notes as well as in literature 
vary from May 4 to June 6. In western Oregon, the species may be 
regarded as a straggler only. Prill took one at Scio, Linn County, August 
2.2., 192.6, and Gabrielson took one on the Lincoln County coast near 
Yachats, July X4, 192.2.. 

About the nesting ground the Long-billed Curlews are noisy birds, 
flying about in circles or diving frantically at an intruder, all the while 
uttering a constant succession of shrill cries. This is the largest of the 
shore birds found in Oregon; its brown color and long decurved bill, taken 
in connection with its size, render it a species easily identified. After 
the breeding season the birds are to be found in small flocks, often mingled 
with other shore birds and looking amusingly clumsy among their smaller 
companions. They are among the earliest of the shore birds to leave and 
after mid-August are seldom noted. 

Hudsonian Curlew: 

hudsonicus (Latham) 

DESCRIPTION. "Smaller than longirostris \_americanus], with shorter bill and duller 
coloration; quills plain dusky. Upper parts specked, mottled, and barred with 
dusky and buff; crown black with middle and side lines of buff; a dusky stripe 
through eye; under parts buffy, barred and streaked on sides, chest, and neck with 
dusky. Length: 16.50-18.00, wing 9.00-10.2.5, bill 3-4, tarsus 2.. 2.5-2.. 30." (Bailey) 
Nest: A depression in the ground, lined with grass and leaves. Eggs: 4, olive green, 
marked with brown to lavender spots and blotches. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Arctic Coast of Alaska and northern Mackenzie. 
Winters from southern California, Louisiana, and South Carolina southward far 
into South America. In Oregon: Migrant only, somewhat more common in fall 
than spring, but not abundant in either season. 

LITTLE has been published about the Hudsonian Curlew as an Oregon 
bird. Woodcock (1902.) listed it as a migrant at Yaquina Bay on the 
authority of Bretherton, and there are a few migration notes by him in 
the Biological Survey files, ranging from March 30, earliest date, to June 
6, latest date, and in the fall from August 10 to 2.4. In addition to this, 
we have only our own notes. We have found it only along the coast, in 
Clatsop, Lincoln, Tillamook, and Lane Counties, where it appears on 
the beaches in small flocks, sometimes along the edges of the surf and at 
other times on the mud flats of the bays. It is most abundant in early 
May and during August and with more field work will almost certainly 


SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolofacidae [ 15 1 ] 

be found in all the coast counties. Our earliest spring date is April 1.9 
(Clatsop County); our latest, May 17 (Tillamook County); and in the 
fall our records range from July 2.0 (Lincoln County), to September n 
(Tillamook County). There are no records for the interior of the State. 
The Hudsonian Curlew is less brown than the Long-billed Curlew, has 
a much shorter bill, and in general is smaller. The occasional individual 
Long-billed Curlew associated with it on the coast can be easily picked 
from the flocks by the much longer bill. On the beaches the birds are 
rather quiet and shy, having been disturbed so much that they are usually 
difficult to approach except at the end of long migratory flights when 
they are sometimes so near exhaustion as to be utterly indifferent to 
human beings. Towering far above the usually abundant smaller shore 
birds, they seem like giants stalking about among crowds of pygmies, 
their leg movements appearing deliberate and clumsy in comparison to 
the twinkling feet of their small cousins. 

Upland Plover: 

Bartramia longicauda (Bech stein) 

DESCRIPTION. "Tail long and graduated, the end reaching well beyond tips of 
folded wings; base of toes webbed only between outer and middle. Adults: rump 
black, rest of upper parts dusky, or greenish black, scalloped and streaked with buff; 
crown blackish, with a median line of light buff; sides and lower surface of wing 
barred with black and white; throat streaked and chest marked with dusky; chin 
and belly white." (Bailey) Downy young: "In the downy young upland plover, 
the crown, back, and rump are prettily variegated, marbled, or mottled, with black 
'wood brown,' 'pinkish buff,' and white, with no definite pattern. The sides of 
the head and the entire under parts are pale buffer buffy white, whitest on the belly 
and throat. A narrow, median frontal stripe and a few spots on the sides of the 
head are black." (Bent) Si^e: "Length ii.oo-ix.75, wing 6.50-7.00, bill 1.10-1.15, 
tarsus i.9o-i.o5, tail 3.40-3.50." (Bailey) Nest: A slight depression, usually 
somewhat scantily lined with grass. Eggs: 4, cream or buffy, spotted with dark 
brown (Plate 40, B). 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska, southern Mackenzie, Saskatchewan, 
Manitoba, Minnesota, Michigan, Ontario, Quebec, and Maine south to Connecticut, 
New Jersey, Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Utah, and southern Oregon. 
Winters in South America. In Oregon: Very rare summer resident in a few mountain 
valleys of eastern Oregon. 

MERRILL (1888) reported a pair of Upland Plover seen and the male taken 
at Fort Klamath on June 4 and a pair with three nearly grown young seen 
in the same locality July 18, 1887, and stated that Bendire also reported 
it from Harney Valley. After that time the bird long remained an un- 
known species to Oregon ornithologists, and Jewett in 19x9 recommended 
that it be placed on the hypothetical list. Subsequent to his recom- 
mendation, however, we have obtained additional information. There 
is a specimen in the Overton Dowell, Jr., collection taken by Dowell on 


August 9, 1919, at Summit Prairie, Crook County (Jewett, i93oe). In 
1931 Jewett found it and collected specimens in Umatilla (May 16) and 
Grant (May 2.3 and 2.4) Counties, and we now know it to be a rare summer 
resident in the vicinity of Ukiah, Umatilla County, and Bear and Logan 
Valleys, Grant County. 

This is one of the most interesting of the shore birds that breed within 
the United States. The haunting, melodious whistle given as the bird 
alights on a fence post with the wings extended far above the back is 
one of the sounds that once heard is never forgotten. It is to be hoped 
that the few birds remaining within the State may succeed in building 
up an increased population, though this sort of a biological miracle is 
not apt to occur. 

Spotted Sandpiper: 

Actitis macularia (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Small and slender, bill approximately the length of tarsus, or of 
middle toe and claw. Adults in summer: entire upper parts bronzy or greenish olive, 
faintly marked with dusky; under parts white, marked, except on middle of belly, 
with round spots dusky; quills dusky, secondaries tipped with white, with a con- 
spicuous white line along the middle of open wing. Adults in winter: white of under 
parts unspotted. Young: like winter adults but finely barred on wings and back 
with dusky and buff." (Bailey) (See Plate 41, A.*) Downy young: "The young 
spotted sandpiper in the natal down is quite uniformly grizzled or mottled on the 
upper parts, from crown to rump, with 'buffy brown,' 'wood brown,' grayish buff, 
and black. The forehead is grayish buff, and the entire under parts are white; a 
narrow black stripe extends from the bill through the eye to the nape; a black patch 
in the center of the crown extends as an indistinct median stripe down the nape and 
broadens to a black band along the back to the rump." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 7-8, 
wing 4. 05-4. 60, bill .90-1.05, tarsus .90-1.05." (Bailey) Nest: On the ground, lined 
with dry grass or weeds, usually in a tuft of grass or a small bush. Eggs: 4, rarely 
3 or 5, buff ground color, spotted and blotched with dark brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern United States north to central Alaska, 
Yukon, Mackenzie, Manitoba, Ungava, and Labrador. Winters from British 
Columbia (on the coast), Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Virginia south into 
South America. In Oregon: Widely distributed summer resident and breeder from 
April to October. Uncommon winter resident of western Oregon. 

THE FAMILIAR little Spotted Sandpiper shares with the Killdeer the dis- 
tinction of being the commonest breeding shore bird in Oregon. It 
becomes common by late April, and has been found in summer in prac- 
tically every county. Breeding records are exceedingly numerous. Along 
every stream and about every lake and pond one can find it teetering 
unsteadily up and down on a rock or jerking about nervously as it hunts 
for food along the shores. Egg dates extend from May i to July 2.1, and 
by July the sight of the prettily marked glossy youngsters following the 
parents about is very common (Plate 41, A). The species remains num- 
erous until September, after which it diminishes rapidly. It winters in 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolofacidae 

Plate 41, A. Spotted Sandpiper chick. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

Plate 41, B. Western Willet. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 


the State sparingly at least. Jewett found it in Tillamook (February 2.2.), 
Curry (February 2.1), and Jackson (November 2.9) Counties; and Gabriel- 
son, in Benton County (January i). Townsend (1839) first listed it for 
the State, and Bendire (1877) gave the first breeding record. Since then 
it has been noted by many observers and is one of the most frequently 
mentioned water birds in all the published literature on Oregon avifauna. 

Western Solitary Sandpiper: 

Tringa solitaria cinnamomea (Brewster) 

DESCRIPTION. Adults in summer: Upper parts, including upper tail coverts and two 
middle tail feathers, dark olive gray, finely specked with cinnamon brown; rest of 
tail barred with white; outer quills and edge of wing deep black; under parts white, 
streaked with dusky on chest and throat. Adults in winter: upper parts more dusky 
and less olive, chest less streaked. Young: specking of back buffy, and dusky of 
chest and sides tinged with buff. Wing 5.10-5.49, tail 2..i8-z.3o, bill 1.15-1.30. 
(Adapted from Bailey.) Nest: Unknown but presumably, like that of the Eastern 
Solitary Sandpiper, in old nests of robins, grackles, blackbirds, and jays. Eggs: 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeding range presumably in northern and western Al- 
berta, northern British Columbia, and Alaska. Known to winter in the Argentine, 
Uruguay, Paraguay, and possibly other parts of South America. In Oregon: Uncom- 
mon migrant, both spring and fall, in eastern Oregon. Straggler only in western 

THIS is ONE of the rarer shore birds for Oregon, and the sight of a Western 
Solitary Sandpiper constitutes a red-letter day for any observer. Living 
up to its name the bird usually appears alone along the banks of small 
streams or ponds, where it frequents much the same kind of places as 
those chosen by the Spotted Sandpiper. Mearns (1879) first recorded this 
uncommon shore bird from Oregon from specimens taken at Fort Kla- 
math in 1875, an< ^ Merrill (1888) reported specimens collected in the 
same place, May 12. and August 16, 1877. It was not again mentioned 
in Oregon literature, until Woodcock (1902.) listed it as a winter resident 
on Yaquina Bay on the strength of reports by Bretherton. As this record 
is not substantiated by specimens and as the species is not known to 
winter on the Pacific Coast, we believe this to be a misidentification. 
Willett (1919) next recorded it for Oregon from Harney County, May 10 
and August -L^. All of our own records are for April and August (earliest 
spring date, April 15, Klamath County; latest, April 2.9, Deschutes 
County: earliest fall record, August i, Baker County; latest, August 2.3, 
Umatilla County). It has been found in Umatilla, Lake, Deschutes, 
Grant, Baker, Harney, Klamath, and Malheur Counties in eastern Ore- 
gon. There are a number of skins in Jewett's and Gabrielson's collec- 
tions, all from eastern Oregon, and two August birds in the United States 
National Museum. In the files of the Biological Survey are reports by 

SNIPES AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolopacidae 

G. G. Cantwell of two birds at Malheur Lake in April 1915 and a note 
by F. M. and V. Bailey of one bird noted over that lake, August 30, 19x0, 
the latest date for the State. The only authentic record for western 
Oregon is a specimen taken by Braly at Portland, May 5, 1930, and now 
in his collection. 

The Western Solitary Sandpiper can be most easily confused with the 
Lesser Yellow-legs. It is darker, smaller, and has green legs that are 
somewhat shorter than those of the Yellow-legs and cause it to stand 
somewhat lower. In flight, the under surface of the wings appears 
blackish and the tail looks white with a dark center instead of pure white, 
as in the Yellow-legs. If a close approach is possible, the cinnamon- 
colored spots on the back can be distinguished as quite different from the 
black and white markings of the Yellow-legs. 

Wandering Tattler: 

Heteroscelus incanus (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Web between middle and outer toes, but not between middle and 
inner; bill straight and slender, longer than tarsus; tarsus equal to length of middle 
toe and claw. Adults in summer: upper parts plain slaty or plumbeous gray; under 
parts thickly barred with white and dusky, becoming more spotted on throat and 
pure white on anal region. Adults in winter: middle of belly and chin white; chest, 
sides, and upper parts gray. Young: like winter adults but with fine specks and 
narrow scallops of white on wings and back. Length: 10.50-11.30, wing 6.50-7.30, 
bill 1.50-1.60, tarsus 1.2.5-1.35." (Bailey) Nest: A depression in the ground, lined 
with fine roots and twigs. Eggs: 4, greenish ground color, spotted and blotched 
with dark brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Alaska. Winters from Oregon southward along 
coast and also on Pacific islands and Asiatic coast. In Oregon: Regular and fairly 
common spring and fall migrant and probably a rare wintering bird. Away from 
coast, only a rare straggler. 

THE STRIKING Wandering Tattler frequents the rocky headlands and off- 
shore rocks along the Oregon coast, where it obtains its food from among 
the abundant marine life associated with the mussels and barnacles that 
are exposed at low tide. At high tide it may occasionally be found 
perched on some convenient shelf high above the surging waters, but its 
colors blend so well with the rocky background that it is difficult to 
detect as long as it remains motionless. Birds taken in July and August 
occasionally retain the handsome heavily barred under parts of the spring 
plumage, though most of them even this early have donned the gray and 
white winter garb. In behavior they remind one of the Solitary or Spotted 
Sandpipers, nervously bobbing their bodies and twitching their tails as 
they feed over the rocks exposed by the ebb tide. These birds are usually 
solitary or appear at most in twos or threes. When startled, they fly away 
with sharp piercing calls that cut clearly through the thunder of the surf. 


Curiously enough, the first recorded specimen of this species from 
Oregon (now in the United States National Museum) was taken at Crater 
Lake and is doubtless the "solitary female" that Bendire (i888a) saw 
there on July 2.7, 1882.. This bird was of course only a straggler and is 
the only Oregon record of the bird away from the coast. Woodcock 
(1902.) reported it from Yaquina Bay, and Nichols (1909) recorded it from 
Seaside. Our earliest fall records are July 2.1 (Lincoln County); our latest, 
November 2.2. (Tillamook County). In the spring our earliest record is 
April 1-7 (Clatsop County); our latest, May 2.0 (Tillamook County). 
There is one February 3 record for Cannon Beach (Gabrielson 192.3^, 
which possibly indicates wintering birds. We have taken many speci- 
mens and noted it many times, between the dates mentioned, on suitable 
rocky places on the coast, from Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Lane, Coos, 
and Curry Counties. Only Douglas among the coast counties is missing, 
and this indicates lack of field work in that area rather than absence of 
the birds. 

Western Willet: 

Catoptrofhorus semipalmatus inornatus (Brewster) 

DESCRIPTION. "Size large, bill slender, straight, about as long as tarsus; base of 
toes webbed; base of tail and large patch on wing always white. Adults in summer: 
upper parts mottled gray and dusky; end of tail gray; belly white; chest and sides 
buffy, barred with dusky, and throat streaked with dusky. Adults in winter: upper 
parts plain ashy gray; under parts white, grayish on sides of throat and breast. 
Young: like adults, but upper parts and sides more buffy or ochraceous." (Bailey) 
Downy young: The downy young is indistinguishable from that of the Eastern 
Willet, which Bent describes as follows: "There is a distinct loral stripe of brownish 
black, a post ocular stripe and a median frontal stripe of 'warm sepia.' The chin 
and throat are white and the rest of the head is pale buff, mixed with grayish white, 
heavily mottled on the crown with 'warm sepia.' The down of the hind neck and 
upper back is basally sepia with light buff tips. The rest of the upper parts are 
variegated with pale buff, grayish white and 'warm sepia'; but in the center of the 
back is a well marked pattern of four broad stripes of 'warm sepia' and three of 
light buff, converging on the rump and between the wings. The under parts are 
buffy white." (Bent) Si%e: "Wing 7.88-8.2.6, bill i.zS-z.yo, tarsus z. 45 -z. 95." 
(Bailey) Nest: A hollow in the ground, lined with grasses and other dried vege- 
tation. Eggs: 4, ground color buff, irregularly marked with dark browns. 

DISTRIBUTION.- General: Breeds from eastern Oregon, eastern Montana, Alberta, 
Saskatchewan, and Manitoba south to Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, 
and northern California. Winters from Humboldt Bay, California, Texas, and 
Louisiana southward. In Oregon: Regular but not abundant summer resident and 
breeding bird of Malheur, Harney, Lake, and Klamath Counties. Casual transient 
anywhere else. 

THE NEUTRAL GRAY of the Western Willet (Plate 41, 5) renders it a some- 
what inconspicuous bird until it takes flight, when the black wing with 
the bold white band sets it off from any other species. It frequently 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolofacidae [2.57] 

alights on fence posts, throwing the wings high overhead and uttering 
its melodic whistle at the instant its feet touch the perch. It is not an 
abundant bird in the State. Townsend (1839) ^ rst listed it, but it was 
not actually found breeding until Bendire's (1877) time. He took eggs 
between May 8 and June 16, 1876, that are now in the United States 
National Museum. Merrill (1888) found it breeding at Fort Klamath, 
and Willett (1919) at Malheur. In June 1930, we found a few obviously 
breeding about the Cow Lakes in Malheur County, and we have found 
it on a number of occasions in the Warner Lake district of Lake County 
and regularly in Harney and Klamath Counties. There are only three 
records known from western Oregon, where it can be considered only a 
straggler. Anthony (Bailey 1902.) called it a rare migrant about Portland, 
Vernon Bailey (ms. notes) noted one bird at Yaquina Bay, September 18 
and 2.9 and October i, 1909, and there is a record of a bird taken at 
Gresham by J. S. Stafford in October 192.4. It arrives in April and remains 
until September (earliest date, April 15, Harney County, Fawcett; latest 
date, October i, Lincoln County, Vernon Bailey) but is most noticeable 
in May, June, and July. 

Greater Yellow-legs: 

Totanus melanoleucus (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer: Upper parts heavily mottled with black, gray, 
and white; quills black; upper tail coverts white, tail white barred with gray; 
under parts white, spotted on chest and barred on sides with black; throat gray, 
streaked with dusky. Adults in winter: upper parts dark gray, finely spotted with 
white; under parts mainly white, with fine spotting of gray on chest and throat. 
Young: like adults in winter, but darker above and with buffy instead of white 
spotting. Length: iz. 15-15.00, wing 7.50-7.75, bill i. 2.0-2.. 30, tarsus 1.50-1.75." 
(Bailey) Nest: A shallow depression, lined with bits of grass. Eggs: 4, buff 
ground color irregularly marked, chiefly about the larger end, with dark-brown 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia, Quebec, and Newfoundland 
north to Alaska, Mackenzie, Alberta, Manitoba, and Labrador. Winters from 
Washington, eastern Oregon, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and Virginia south through 
the Argentine. In Oregon: Regular but not abundant migrant throughout State. 
Uncommon winter resident. Most abundant in April and from August to October. 

NEWBERRY (1857) reported the Greater Yellow-legs as not uncommon on 
the Columbia River, and since that time it has been reported by many 
observers from all parts of the State. It is a conspicuous wader, easily 
identified by its mottled back, white tail, and bright yellow legs. Single 
birds are likely to appear in the most isolated pools or meadows, either 
on the desert or on the high mountains. This is particularly true of the 
fall migration, which is a much more leisurely affair than the north- 
ward movement. It remains occasionally in small flocks far into the 
winter. Jewett took one on the Malheur River, December 13, 192.7, and 


the authors together found a flock of six along this same stream, Decem- 
ber 7, 1933. John Carter obtained a bird out of a flock of about twenty 
on Government Island (Multnomah County), November 2.4, 1933, and 
this flock was noted at intervals through December. Aside from these 
wintering records, it appears in Oregon in migration (Harney County, 
March 2.0), and migrates north in April (latest date, Wallowa County, 
May 10). The earliest fall migration date is July 9; the latest, November 
2.0 (both Harney County). 

The high-pitched cry is one of the most familiar sandpiper voices to 
Oregon bird lovers who are not privileged to live on the beaches or about 
the great swamps and lakes of eastern Oregon. The latter have an oppor- 
tunity to know many shore birds that are seldom seen in most parts of 
the State, or at best so infrequently that one does not have an opportunity 
to become really acquainted with them. 

Lesser Yellow-legs: 

Totanus flavipes (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Smaller than melanoleucus. Plumage similar in all its stages, but 
with finer markings. Length: 9. 50-11.00, wing 6.10-6.65, bill 1.30-1.55, tarsus 2.. oo- 
i.i5." (Bailey) Nest: A depression in the ground, lined with leaves and grass. 
Eggs: Usually 4, ground color buff, splotched and spotted with dark browns. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska, Mackenzie, and Ungava south, for- 
merly to New York, Indiana, Illinois, and Alberta. Winters from extreme southern 
United States southward. In Oregon: Uncommon migrant anywhere, but more 
abundant in eastern half of State and more frequent in fall than in spring migration. 

WE REGARD the Lesser Yellow-legs as one of the less common migrating 
shore birds in this State. Townsend (1839) first listed it from this terri- 
tory, and it has been reported since from eastern Oregon by Newberry 
(1857), Bendire (1877), Mearns (1879), an ^ Willett (1919). Records from 
western Oregon are much scarcer. Woodcock (1901) reported a specimen 
from Corvallis, July 10, 1899; Hoffman (i9^6b) took one at Tillamook, 
September 10, 1915 ; and Currier (192.9^ found two near Portland, Novem- 
ber 2.1, 192.8. Our only dates for spring are May 12. and 2.1, both in Lake 
County, but in the fall we have nine records extending from July 2.1 to 
September 2.8 from Klamath, Lake, Harney, Union, Crook, and Deschutes 

The Lesser Yellow-legs is in every way a miniature of its larger relative 
and can easily be confused with it unless the difference in size is kept 
clearly in mind. The Greater Yellow-legs is one of the large shore birds, 
ranking next to the godwit and curlew in size, whereas the Lesser Yellow- 
legs, disregarding the length of its legs, is smaller in body than a Killdeer. 
Observers should be on the watch for this bird but should either collect 
the specimens or make most careful estimates of size before recording the 
identification, particularly in western Oregon. 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolopacidae [2.59] 

American Knot: 

Calidris canutus rufus (Wilson) 

DESCRIPTION. "The only species of Tringa in which the middle pair of tail feathers 
are not decidedly longer than the rest. Adults in summer: upper parts grayish and 
dusky, tinged with buff; rump and upper tail coverts white, barred and spotted with 
dusky; line over eye and most of under parts pale cinnamon; flanks and under tail 
coverts white. Adults in winter: upper parts plain gray; under parts, rump, and tail 
coverts white, barred or streaked with dusky except on belly and under tail coverts. 
Young: like adults in winter but gray feathers of back edged with whitish and dusky, 
and breast often suffused with buffy. Length: 10-11, wing 6.50, tail 1.50, bill 1.40." 
(Bailey) Nest: A hollow in the ground. Eggs: 4, olive buff, spotted and scrawled 
with brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeding range is little known but is in far north on 
Arctic islands. Winters in southern hemisphere. In Oregon: Rare straggler on coast. 

WOODCOCK (1901) first listed the American Knot as an Oregon bird on 
B. J. Bretherton's statement that it was a rare migrant on Yaquina Bay. 
It is of interest that the three specimens taken in Oregon since that time 
have all been taken at Seal Rocks, a few miles south of Newport. M. E. 
Peck collected two birds there on August 19, 1914, and Braly took the 
third 15 years later at almost the same spot on August 31, 192.9. One of 
the curious anomalies that makes bird study such a fascinating subject is 
the behavior of this bird. It is common on the California coast and at 
times abundant at Willapa Harbor just to the north of the Columbia 
River, but the bird either has not scheduled any Oregon stops or passes 
along the coast at sea. 

Aleutian Sandpiper: 

Arquatella ftilocnemis couesi Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION. Adult in spring: Above, dark brown, variegated on the edges and tips 
of the feathers with a little whitish or grayish and much deep rusty; below, white, 
blotched or spotted with gray, rusty, or black in variable proportions without 
much pattern across breast and along flanks; throat paler; legs dull yellowish or 
yellowish green. In winter: Above, black with purple iridescence, feathers edged 
with grayish; below, white with broad breast band of ashy gray. Si%e: Length 
7.50-9.00, wing 4.50-5.15, bill .98-1.2.5. Nest: A depression, scantily lined with 
dead leaves, grass, and feathers. Eggs: Usually 4, occasionally 5, olive to olive- 
buff, heavily and irregularly marked, chiefly about the larger end, with blotches 
and spots of dark brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on northeastern coast of Siberia and west coast of 
Alaska and on adjacent islands south to Aleutians. Winters south to Oregon 
coast. In Oregon: Rare winter visitor. 

THE ALEUTIAN SANDPIPER is a rare winter visitor on the Oregon coast 
from December 17 (Lincoln County) to April 15 (Tillamook County), 
where it frequents the rocky headlands most favored by the Black Turn- 
stones, Surf-birds, and Wandering Tattlers. It looks superficially much 


like the Black Turnstone, with which it is frequently found, but is much 
smaller. Jewett (19^) first recorded it from the State from a specimen 
taken at Netarts, December 31, 1912.. Other records, all from Netarts 
and all supported by skins in his collection, are March 10, 1913, April 13, 
1914, December 30, 192.6, and December 2.9, 192.8. The southernmost 
record for the State is at Roads End, in northern Lincoln County, where, 
December 17, 1930, the authors saw a small flock and took one bird. 

Pectoral Sandpiper: 

Pisobia melanotos (Vieillot) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill longer than tarsus; middle pair of tail feathers pointed and 
longer than the rest; shaft of outer quill only, pure white; rump, upper coverts, 
and middle tail feathers, black. Adults: upper parts mottled dusky, black, and 
buffy; chest dark gray, finely streaked with dusky; chin and belly white. Young: 
similar to adults, but upper parts striped with ochraceous, brightest on edges of 
tertials and tail feathers; chest buffy, finely streaked with dusky. Length: 8.00- 
9.50, wing 5.005.50, bill i.zo, tarsus i.oo " (Bailey) Nest: A slight 
depression, lined with a little dry grass. Eggs: 4, dull white to olive buff, more or 
less evenly marked by blotches of brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds mainly on Arctic Coast of Alaska and Mackenzie. 
Winters in South America. In Oregon: Occurs as uncommon migrant in both spring 
and fall. Most regular and abundant east of Cascades. 

WOODCOCK (1901) first listed the Pectoral Sandpiper as an Oregon bird, 
stating that it was a rare spring migrant at Salem, as reported by Warner. 
This is the only published record for the State that we have been able to 
find, other than our own notes. We have found it much more abundant 
as a fall than as a spring migrant, a single record from Klamath County 
on April 19 and one from Harney County on May 14, both by Gabrielson, 
being the only spring records. Our earliest fall date is July 2.5 (Klamath 
County), but the first definite record of a specimen from the State is one 
taken by Jewett on October 16, 1905 (our latest fall date), on Govern- 
ment Island, Multnomah County. In the fall it is a fairly regular migrant 
east of the Cascades, where it can be expected in small numbers in Kla- 
math and Harney Counties in the last half of September. In the notes of 
the Biological Survey, Preble reported it from Fort Klamath on September 
15 to 18, 1896, and Cantwell, from Cold Springs Reservation, Umatilla 
County, in October 1914. In addition, Gabrielson obtained a specimen 
on September 2.3 from Crook County and at close range watched two 
birds running about over the permanent snow field just below the summit 
of Eagle Cap, Wallowa County, at about 9,600 feet altitude. These birds, 
hurriedly picking insects from the snow, were very tame and allowed 
slow approach to within 8 or 10 feet. The Multnomah County record 
above and one from the coast of Lincoln County, August 31, 192.9, are 
our only records from western Oregon. 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolofacidae [ z6l ] 

Baird's Sandpiper: 

Pisobia bairdi (Coues) 

DESCRIPTION. "Middle upper tail coverts plain dusky. Adults in summer: upper 
parts spotted and streaked with black, grayish, and buffy; chest buffy, streaked 
with dusky; line over eye, chin, and belly whitish. Adults in winter: plain grayish 
brown, obscurely streaked with dusky; under parts whitish, chest suffused with 
buffy. Young: feathers of back tipped with whitish, and chest less sharply streaked 
with dusky than in summer adult. Length: 7.00-7.60, wing 4.60-4.85, bill .90- 
i.oo, tarsus i.oo." (Bailey) Nest: A slight depression in the ground, lined with 
leaves and grass. Eggs: Usually 4, pinkish buff, speckled and spotted with brown. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Arctic Coast and islands of North America and 
adjacent parts of Siberia. Winters in South America. In Oregon: Known only as 
fall migrant on coast, with one record for eastern part of State. 

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was first reported from Oregon by Jewett (19140), 
based on five specimens taken in August and September 1911. We find, 
however, that the first specimen was taken by Professor M. E. Peck near 
Woods, Tillamook County, on August 2.2., 1909, and is now in the Car- 
negie Museum. Since then the species has been taken regularly on the 
coast in Tillamook, Lincoln, and Curry Counties and at times is exceed- 
ingly abundant on the beaches. Our earliest date is July 30 (Lincoln 
County); our latest, September 13 (Curry County). The only record east 
of the Cascades is that of a small flock seen by Gabrielson and DuBois 
at Kinney Lake, Wallowa County, on August 2.0, 1930, from which one 
specimen was taken. 

The ease with which this species might be confused with the Western 
or Pectoral Sandpiper undoubtedly has something to do with the previous 
scarcity of records. Comparative size is a poor criterion on which to 
separate similar species in the field unless they appear together, and birds 
are not always so considerate. Because of the strong general similarity of 
the two species we have confined our records to dates on which specimens 
were taken. In addition to our specimens, Braly has taken a number 
along the coast. 

Least Sandpiper: 

Pisobia minutilla (Vieillot) 

DESCRIPTION. "Size very small, wing less than 4. Adults in summer: median parts 
of tail, upper coverts, and rump black; sides of coverts white, streaked with dusky; 
rest of upper parts mainly blackish, specked and spotted with brown and buff; chest 
buffy gray, specked with dusky; belly and flanks white. Adults in winter: upper 
parts dark gray, obscurely spotted and streaked with dusky; chest light gray, finely 
streaked. Young: crown and back heavily streaked with rusty, and back spotted 
with white; chest buffy gray, faintly streaked. Length: 5.00-6.75, wing 3.50-3.75, 
bill .75-. 9Z, tarsus .75." (Bailey) Nest: A slight depression in the ground, lined 
with leaves and grass. Eggs: 3 or 4, cream buff to olive, blotched or speckled with 


DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Arctic north from Nova Scotia, Quebec, Kee- 
watin, southern Mackenzie, southern Yukon, and southern Alaska and winters 
from Grays Harbor, Washington, Gulf coast, and North Carolina, southward. In 
Oregon: Spring and fall migrant, more abundant in fall than in spring migration 
movement. Regular winter resident in small numbers on coast. 

THE LEAST SANDPIPER, the smallest of the Oregon shore birds, so closely 
resembles the Western Sandpiper that the two are easily confused. For 
that reason records of this species are not plentiful in Oregon literature. 
Townsend listed it in 1839, the only record until Woodcock (1901) re- 
ported it from Yaquina Bay and Corvallis. Anthony (Bailey 1902.) stated 
that it was a common migrant near Portland. Willett (1919) found it in 
both spring and fall at Malheur Lake. In the Biological Survey field 
notes are records by Vernon Bailey, Preble, Becker, Streator, and Gold- 
man from various localities in both eastern and western Oregon. Our 
date of latest spring departure is May 15 (Harney County). W. E. Sher- 
wood took the earliest fall specimens we have seen, July n, 192.4, at 
Salem. The species is an abundant migrant on the coast during July, 
August, and September, after which most of the birds depart, leaving 
behind only a scant population that winters in the sand dunes, often in 
small flocks mixed with Snowy Plover. We have taken wintering birds 
on the coast on December n (Curry County, Jewett), December -LJ (Tilla- 
mook County, Gabrielson), and November 2.4 (Lincoln County, both 
observers and John Carter). Like other small sandpipers, these little 
"peeps" are consummate masters of the art of synchronized motion, often 
wheeling and dipping in the most intricate aerial evolutions. 

Red-backed Sandpiper: 

Pelidna alpina sakhalina (Vieillot) 

DESCRIPTION. "Tarsus longer than middle toe and claw; bill longer than tarsus, 
slightly curved; middle of wing with a large white patch. Adults in summer: 
crown, back, and upper tail coverts bright rusty ochraceous, more or less spotted or 
streaked with black; middle of belly black; chest grayish white, thickly streaked 
with dusky; sides and back part of belly white. Adults in winter: upper parts plain 
ashy gray, obscurely streaked with dusky; chest light gray, more or less streaked 
with dusky; rest of under parts, sides of rump, and upper tail coverts white. Young: 
like adults in winter but upper parts spotted and streaked with black and ochraceous, 
and breast coarsely spotted with black. Length: 7.60-8.75, wing 4.60-4.95, bill 
1.40-1.75, tarsus 1.00-1.15." (Bailey) Nest: A loose mass of dry grass in a shallow 
depression in the ground. Eggs: Usually 4, pale green to olive buff, spotted with 
dark browns. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Arctic America south to eastern Keewatin, north- 
western Mackenzie, and Hooper Bay, Alaska. Winters from Washington and New 
Jersey south to Lower California, Florida, and Gulf coast. In Oregon: Common 
migrant on coast and less common but regular winter resident. Less common in- 
land, although it occurs more or less regularly in migration. Arrives in October 
and remains until May. 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolopacidae [ 163 ] 

THE HANDSOME Red-backed Sandpiper is a common migrant on the coast 
that in its spring plumage is not likely to be confused with any other 
species. In the fall, however, in its more demure dress, it is harder for 
the less observant to tell it from the hosts of other sandpipers present, 
but its heavy body and comparatively long bill serve to distinguish it 
from most of the others. This species was first reported for Oregon by 
Townsend (1839), and Newberry (1857) included it in his Oregon list. 
Johnson (1880) reported it as a migrant in the Willamette Valley, and 
Woodcock (1902.) listed a specimen taken on the coast of Lincoln County, 
May 18, 1888, the date curiously coinciding with Jewett's record at 
Netarts, May 18, 1913, the latest date either of us has for the State. 
Walker (1917), however, reported it from Silver Lake, June 4, the latest 
date for the State and one of the few records for eastern Oregon. Willett 
(1919) saw several at Malheur Lake May 14. Neither of us has observed 
this bird east of the Cascades, no doubt because comparatively little field 
work has been carried on in the water areas during the proper season. 
In our experience, the species is most common in late April and early 
May and is sometimes present on the beaches and mud flats by the 
hundreds the first week in May. In the fall it becomes common in October 
(earliest date, October 4, Lane County), when other species of sand- 
pipers are on the decrease and some of them have moved on southward. 
The birds remaining after November i are usually those that have elected 
to spend the winter on the coast, where they may be found feeding along 
the beaches at low tide or on the mud flats of the bays in small flocks, 
sometimes in company with a few Least Sandpipers. 

Long-billed Dowitcher: 

Limnodromus griseus scolopaceus (Say) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer: A light stripe over eye and dusky stripe from eye 
to bill; upper parts, except rump and lower back, specked and mottled with black, 
brown, and buff; rump white, spotted with black, tail feathers barred black and 
white; entire under parts bright cinnamon specked on throat and barred on sides 
and lower tail coverts with dusky. Adults in winter: belly and line over eye white; 
rest of plumage gray. Young: similar to adults but back and crown mottled with 
black and ochraceous; belly and chest suffused with light cinnamon. Length: 1 1 .00- 
12.. 50, wing 5.40-6.00, bill x. 10-3. oo, tarsus 1.35-1.75." (Bailey) Nest: A small 
depression in the ground, scantily lined with grass and leaves. Eggs: 4, olive in 
color, spotted and blotched with bright to dull brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Point Barrow to mouth of Yukon, east to 
northwestern Mackenzie. Winters from Louisiana, Florida, central California, 
Cuba, Jamaica, and Mexico south to Panama and Ecuador; in migration on Pacific 
Coast and in western Mississippi Valley; occasional in summer (nonbreeding birds) 
south to western Ecuador. Casual on Atlantic Coast from Nova Scotia (Sable 
Island) southward and on northern coast of eastern Siberia south to Japan. In 
Oregon: Occurs as both a spring and fall migrant in eastern and western Oregon. 


THE LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER is a regular but not abundant migrant in 
Oregon, though huge flocks will appear for a day or two in some locali- 
ties during migrations. Its flight is swift and direct, and it is master of 
the intricate flock evolutions extensively practiced by many of its rela- 
tives. Townsend (1839) first recorded it from Oregon, and since his time 
Newberry (1857), Bendire (1877), Mearns (1879), Johnson (1880), and 
Willett (1919) have recorded it as either a spring or fall migrant, all of 
these referring to eastern Oregon except Johnson who found it in the 
Willamette Valley. For some unknown reason neither Woodcock (1902.) 
nor any of his western Oregon correspondents seem to have noted this 
species; at least Woodcock failed to mention it. 

In our own experience it is now regularly found on the coast and in 
the interior. The coastal birds are found usually in small compact flocks 
about the bays. In eastern Oregon the birds are often found in flocks of 
several hundred that stay about the marshes for several days or weeks, 
particularly on their movement southward. We have noted it in Clatsop, 
Tillamook, and Lincoln Counties on the coast and Harney, Klamath, and 
Crook Counties in the eastern part of the State. Our earliest spring date 
is April zcj (Clatsop County); our latest, May 15 (Harney County). In 
the fall our records range from July 2.0 (Lincoln County) to September 2.3 
(Crook County). 

Most of the specimens taken in Oregon are curiously speckled inter- 
mediates between the bright cinnamon of the summer and the gray and 
white of the winter dress. We have three taken by Gabrielson from a 
flock in Crook County, September 2.3, however, that are in complete 
winter plumage and two taken by him at Newport on May 3 that are in 
almost full nuptial dress. 

Western Sandpiper: 

Ereunetes mauri Cabanis 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer: Ear coverts and upper parts bright chestnut, 
mottled with black and buffy gray; breast thickly spotted. Adults in winter: upper 
parts dull gray, obscurely streaked with dusky; under parts white, with a few scat- 
tered triangular spots of dusky on breast and sides. Young: back spotted with black 
and scalloped with dark chestnut and white; chest tinged with pinkish buff; rest of 
under parts white. Male: wing 3.60-3.75, bill .85-. 95, tarsus .85-. 90. Female: 
wing 3.70-3.90, bill 1.00-1.15, tarsus .90-. 95." (Bailey) Nest: A depression in the 
ground, scantily lined with grass, leaves of berry-bearing vines and dwarf birch, and 
reindeer moss stems. Eggs: 4, rarely 5, creamy ground color, heavily marked with 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds only in Alaska from Hooper Bay north and east to 
Point Barrow and Camden Bay. Winters from Washington and Gulf coast south- 
ward into South America. In Oregon: Abundant spring and fall migrant. 

THE WESTERN SANDPIPER is by far the most abundant shore bird in Ore- 
gon, often outnumbering all other species combined. It reaches its maxi- 

SNIPE AND SANDPIPERS: Family Scolofacidae [ 165 ] 

mum numbers on the coast, but it is also common inland wherever suit- 
able water conditions are to be found. It is most numerous in May, 
August, and September. Our earliest spring date is April 15 (Klamath 
County); the latest, May 2.2. (Tillamook County). In the fall movement, 
our earliest date is July 2. (Lincoln County); our latest, November 2.0 
(Curry County). This last date suggests wintering birds, though we 
have not yet found this species anywhere on the Oregon coast between 
the months of December and March inclusive, but as it has been known 
to winter on the Washington coast, it may reasonably be expected to be 
found doing so in Oregon. 

Townsend (1839) first reported the Western Sandpiper from Oregon. 
Bendire (1877) considered it a common spring migrant at Malheur Lake, 
and Willett (1919) also found it common in July and August at the same 
place. Woodcock (1901) recorded it from Yaquina, Scio, and Corvallis, 
and Anthony (Bailey 1902.) considered it an abundant migrant about 
Portland. There is a specimen in the Carnegie Museum taken by 
Woodcock (1902.) at Corvallis on April 2.1, 1899. The manuscript reports 
of Biological Survey workers contain many references to this bird during 
migrations. Those of particular interest are a specimen taken out of a 
flock of 10 by Preble, July 4, 1915, at Cow Creek, Lake Malheur, a speci- 
men taken by him at Diamond Lake, August 12., 1896, and one taken at 
Lakeview October i, 1914, by Goldman. From a huge flock on Yaquina 
Bay, July z, 1934, Gabrielson and Braly took several birds showing 
incubation patches. 

These little sandpipers, the most abundant of all the smaller species 
grouped under the name "Peep" or "Sand-peep" by the general populace, 
at times inhabit our beaches and lake shores in great swarms. Running 
back and forth with the surf along the beaches, or wheeling, dipping, 
and circling in perfect unison about the waterfront, they usually attract 
the attention of all eyes. Often when tired, apparently from a long 
migration trip, they settle on the beach in closely packed masses, all 
sitting tight to the ground and facing the same direction. On such occa- 
sions it is possible to approach almost within a step before the birds 
move, and a gun fired into the closely packed ranks will kill or wound 
dozens of the tiny creatures. It formerly was no unusual thing to find 
numerous crippled Western Sandpipers on the beaches, the luckless sur- 
vivors of such a slaughter, but the practice seems to be dying out slowly. 

Marbled Godwit: 

Limosa fedoa (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Plumage mainly light cinnamon brown, heavily mottled 
with black on upper parts, and finely barred with blackish on chest, sides, and tail; 
throat streaked and chin whitish; edge of wing black. Young: similar to adults but 


more ochraceous brown, and breast and sides unmarked. Length: i6.5o-zo.5o, wing 
8.50-9.00, bill 3.50-5.06." (Bailey) Nest: A slight hollow in grassy places, some- 
times lined with a little dry grass. Eggs: Usually 4, rarely 3 or 5, olive buff, 
sparingly marked with rounded spots of dull brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in interior, largely in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Mani- 
toba, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North and South Dakota the principal remain- 
ing breeding area being in North Dakota and Saskatchewan. Winters from southern 
United States southward. In Oregon: Very rare transient. Only two recent records. 

ALTHOUGH this large brown wader with the slightly upturned bill is a 
fairly common bird in October and November on the southern California 
coast, it has always been a rarity in Oregon. Townsend (1839) listed the 
Marbled Godwit for the State, and Woodcock (1902.) said it was reported 
on the coast by Anthony. The only specimen we have seen is a bird 
taken at Netarts Bay from a flock of seven, September 12., 19x1, by 
Gabrielson (192.3). Kalmbach reported seeing two at close range in 
Klamath County, August 2.1 and 2.2., 192.9, the only other recent report 
for the State. 


Crocethia alba (Pallas) 

DESCRIPTION. "Toes only 3, short and flattened; bill slender, about as long as 
tarsus; feet and legs black. Breeding plumage: upper parts, throat, and chest specked 
and spotted with rusty, black, and whitish; rest of under parts and stripe on middle 
of wing white. Adults in summer: upper parts and throat specked, spotted, and 
streaked with black, rusty and whitish; rest of under parts and stripe on wing 
white. Adults in winter: upper parts hoary gray, except blackish quills and bend of 
wing; under parts snowy white. Young: upper parts coarsely spotted with dusky 
and gray above; under parts white, sparsely marked with dusky and buffy on chest. 
Length: 7.00-8.75, wing 4.705.00, bill .95-1.00, tarsus .90-1.05." (Bailey) Nest: 
A slight depression in the ground, lined with withered leaves of Arctic willow and 
other plants of the extreme north. Eggs: 3 or 4, usually 4, greenish-olive ground 
color, marked with small, somewhat evenly distributed spots of dull brown. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Cosmopolitan in North America. Breeds from northern 
Alaska and Canada, on Arctic islands and Greenland. Winters from Washington 
and Massachusetts southward far into South America. In Oregon: Common migrant 
and winter resident of coast counties, where it is almost entirely a beach bird, that 
is nearly a permanent resident, being absent from coast for a short period in late 
spring and early summer. 

ALTHOUGH the Sanderling is one of the most conspicuous and easily found 
sandpipers on the coast, for some unexplained reason it was overlooked 
by all of the early writers on Oregon birds. Woodcock (1902.), who re- 
ported it as a common migrant at Yaquina Bay on reports of Bretherton, 
was the first to include it in any Oregon list. We have found it to be 
one of the most regular of all species. It is confined strictly to the coast 
counties. There are no inland records. It is most abundant on the beaches 
in August and September but is found also as the most common winter- 

AVOCETS AND STILTS: Family Recurvirostridae [ 2.67 ] 

ing sandpiper on the coast. When it arrives from the north it is already 
well advanced into the pale winter plumage that makes it the whitest 
appearing of all our small sandpipers. Before it departs in the spring it 
has completely donned the spotted and checked darker summer plumage. 
Our latest spring date is June 2. (Tillamook County); earliest fall date, 
July 2.0 (Lincoln County). 

When the Sanderlings begin to arrive on the beaches in numbers in 
early August they appear in straggling flocks that follow the wash of 
the surf back and forth, always calculating to a nicety just how far they 
may follow the receding wave before turning to race shoreward on flying 
feet ahead of the surge of its successor. Seldom do they miscalculate 
enough to be forced to take wing ahead of the rushing waters. In Sep- 
tember their numbers commence to diminish as many take off for points 
south. Enough of these hardy sandpipers remain, however, for a winter 
day's tramp of three or four miles to reveal a flock or two on almost any 

Avocets and Stilts: Family Recurvirostridae 


Recurvirostra americana Gmelin 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill black, feet and legs bluish. Adults in summer plumage: head, 
neck, chest, and shoulders light cinnamon, shading into whitish around base of bill ; 
under parts, rump, and large patches on wing white; primaries, base of wing, and 
half of scapulars black. Adults in winter plumage: cinnamon of head, neck, and 
chest replaced by grayish white. Young: like winter adults, but quills and scapulars 
tipped with whitish, and back of neck tinged with buffy." (Bailey) Downy young: 
"The downy young avocet is well colored for concealment on an open beach or 
alkaline flat. The colors of the upper parts are 'cinnamon buff,' 'cream buff,' and 
buffy grays, lightest on the crown and darkest on the rump; there is a distinct but 
narrow loral stripe of black; the crown is indistinctly spotted with dusky. Two 
parallel stripes of brownish black distinctly mark the scapulars and two more the 
sides of the rump; the wings, back, rump, and thighs are less distinctly spotted or 
peppered with gray and dusky. The under parts are buffy white, nearly pure white 
on the throat and belly." (Bent) Si^e: "Length 15.50-18.75, wing 8.50-9.00, bill 
3.40-3.65, tarsus 3.70-3.80." (Bailey) Nest: Usually a depression, lined with a 
little dry grass. Eggs: Usually 4, occasionally 3 or 5, deep buff, more or less evenly 
covered with irregular spots and patches of dark brown (Plate 42., A). 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Washington, Idaho, Alberta, Saskatchewan, 
western Iowa, Kansas south to Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and California. 
In Oregon: Breeds commonly about shallow alkaline ponds and lakes of Klamath, 
Lake, Harney, and Malheur Counties. Has bred in Baker County and probably in 
Umatilla County. Arrives in May and remains until October. 

TOWNSEND (1839) first reported the Avocet from Oregon, and Bendire 
(1877) first reported it breeding in the State (Plate 42., B~). Since Bendire's 
time, every ornithologist who has visited the lake country of south- 



Plate 41, A. Nest and eggs of Avocet. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 

Plate 42., B. Avocet on nest. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

AVOCETS AND STILTS: Family Recurvirostridae [ 2.69 ] 

central Oregon has had some comment to make about this striking bird. 
It is most abundant about the small alkaline ponds between Klamath 
Falls and the California line, at Abert, Summer, and the Warner Lakes 
in Lake County, about Malheur Lake and the smaller ponds in both the 
Silvies and Blitzen Valleys in Harney County, and about the Cow Creek 
Lakes in Malheur County. In addition, one or more pairs will be found 
about many of the smaller lakes and ponds in these counties. Its earliest 
date of arrival is April 5 (Klamath County); latest fall date, October 9 
(Lake County). Aside from the counties in which it is found breeding, 
Oregon records of this bird are scarce. Woodcock (1902.) reported two 
specimens from near Corvallis on July 2.9, 1900, the only record for the 
western part of the State. There are two records of its occurrence in 
Wallowa County: one was killed and mounted at the fish hatchery near 
Enterprise some time prior to 192.7; and later a pair of wings taken by 
a game warden from a bird killed in the county was sent to us for identi- 

In Oregon the nests are usually built in the edge of the short scant 
grass of the alkaline flats and are mere depressions, lined more or less with 
bits of dry vegetation (Plate 42., A). They are occasionally built so close 
to the water level that a heavy rain floods them, forcing the birds to 
move to higher ground for a second nesting. The eggs are laid in late 
May or early June (May 12. and June 2.5, extreme dates), and the long- 
legged youngsters are able to run about within a few hours after hatch- 
ing, which occurs in mid-June. 

The large size, the striking black, white, and chestnut color pattern, 
and the long, upturned bill serve to differentiate the Avocets from all 
other waders found within the State. In the fall the chestnut color of 
the head and neck is replaced by white, leaving the birds with a strictly 
black and white pattern. Nesting in the short grass and spending most 
of the time along the edges of the shallow pools, they are one of the 
most conspicuous marsh birds. When aroused by the presence of an in- 
truder at the nests, they fly about in frantic circles, sweeping down with 
their long bills pointed straight ahead and continuously uttering low, 
piercing cries. At other times they are rather silent and spend their time 
feeding quietly near the shore line or resting in small companies on the 
mud flats. The upturned bill, a clumsy-looking affair, is an appropriate 
tool for use in feeding in the shallow water. The bird walks or runs 
forward, with the bill plowing the water and scooping up the aquatic 
larvae and other food. 

Black-necked Stilt: 

Himantofus mexicanus (Muller) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill black, feet and legs pinkish. Adult male: back of head and 
neck, shoulders, and wings greenish black; tail gray; rest of plumage white, breast 


tinged with dull pinkish in breeding plumage. Adult female: like male, but black 
duller, or slaty. Young: similar to adult female, but feathers of back bordered with 
buffy, and blackish of head and neck mottled with buffy." (Bailey) Downy young: 
"Upper parts light buffy grayish mottled with dusky, the back and rump with 
several large blotches of black; head, neck, and under parts buffy whitish or brown- 
ish white, the crown, occiput, and hindneck grayish, the crown with a mesial 
streak of black, the occiput with several irregular spots of the same." (Ridgway 
1919.) S^e: "Length 13.50-15.50, wing 8.50-9.00, bill 1.50, tarsus 4." (Bailey) 
Nest: A hollow, lined with bits of vegetation. Eggs: Usually 4, occasionally 3 to 7, 
dull yellow to buff, irregularly spotted with small blotches of dark brown or black 
(Plate 43, /Q. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Nests north to Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Louisiana, and 
Florida and southward into South America. Winters in Central and South America. 
In Oregon: Summer resident of alkali ponds of Klamath, Harney, and Lake Counties. 
Arrives in May and leaves for south in August. 

THE BLACK-NECKED STILT, an odd black and white bird with elongated 
pink legs (Plate 43, B), is a summer resident and one of the striking 
species of the alkaline lake country. It reaches its northernmost breeding 
grounds in Oregon, where nesting colonies are known at present from 
Klamath (several ponds near Midland), Lake (Warner Lakes and Che- 
waucan Marsh), and Harney (Malheur Lake) Counties. Newberry (1857) 
first recorded the species from the State, and Bendire (1877) found it 
breeding at Malheur Lake. Mearns (1879) listed it at Fort Klamath, and 
subsequent observers have found it in these two counties and in Lake 
County also. The earliest date of arrival is April 19 (Klamath County); 
latest fall date, August 31 (Lake County), the birds leaving for the south 
while the weather is still warm in the great interior plateau. The species 
is not common in Oregon, the numbers being limited to a few pairs at 
each of the above-mentioned localities. It has not been found even as a 
straggler outside the breeding area. 

The flimsy nests (Plate 43, A), built in much the same situations as 
those selected by the Avocets, are occasionally flooded by rising waters. 
At such times, the birds have been known to build them up by thrusting 
bits of sticks and debris under the eggs until they are occasionally raised 
as much as 8 inches above the ground level. The eggs are usually laid 
during the last half of May (May 2.1 to June 2.1). 

In walking, the Black-necked Stilts raise the feet with a very exagger- 
ated knee action, which sometimes makes them appear clumsy and awk- 
ward in handling their pipestem legs, but in reality they are very com- 
petent waders in the slime and muddy waters of their chosen home. Their 
flight is well sustained but not particularly swift, the long legs projecting 
behind giving the birds an exceedingly slender appearance. During their 
brief stay in Oregon, the stilts are exceedingly noisy and aggressive, 
scolding with harsh, shrill clatter at any one who invades their haunts. 

AVOCETS AND STILTS: Family Recurvirostridae [ 2.J I 

Plate 43, A. Nest and eggs of Black-necked Stilt. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 

Plate 43, B. Black-necked Stilt on nest. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 


Phalaropes: Family Phalaropodidae 

Red Phalarope: 

Phalaropus fulicarius (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill about as long as head, flat, widest toward end. Adult male in 
summer: back streaked with black and buff; wing bluish and dusky, crossed by a 
white band; side of head whitish; under parts dark cinnamon brown. Adult female 
in summer: crown and face plumbeous or blackish, sides of head pure white. Adults 
in winter: head, neck, and under parts pure white, except for plumbeous on back of 
head and around eyes; upper parts plain blue gray. Young: upper parts blackish, the 
feathers edged with yellowish; under parts whitish, with dusky brown across 
breast. Length: 7.50-8.75, wing 5.15-5.50, bill .80-. 95." (Bailey) Nest: A depres- 
sion in the ground, lined with bits of grass and leaves or moss of the tundra. Eggs: 
Almost invariably 4, buff, more or less irregularly spotted and blotched with bright 
to dark brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Arctic regions of both Old and New World. 
Winters on oceans to below equator. In Oregon: Regular and at times abundant 
migrant along coast, spending much time at sea and appearing on shore in numbers 
only during severe storms. Casual straggler inland. 

THE BEAUTIFUL little Red Phalarope (Plate 44, A) is a common and at 
times abundant migrant shore bird off the Oregon coast, but it usually 
stays well offshore so that the scattered individuals found on the beaches 
furnish a most unsatisfactory clue to its movements and abundance in 
our State. During the periods of abundance the birds are found flying 
low over the water in small flocks or riding the ocean swells like puffs 
of down. They ride high on the water, and a more incongruous picture 
can hardly be imagined than these dainty mites riding the waves during 
rough weather, apparently entirely indifferent to the tumult of the waters. 
Our earliest spring date is March 2.7 (Lane County); latest, May n 
(Lincoln County). In the fall migration, July zo (Lincoln County) is our 
earliest and November 2.2. (Tillamook County) our latest date of their 
appearance. Inland, the species is known only as a casual straggler. A 
female taken at Fort Klamath, October 31, 1882., by Bendire and now 
in the United States National Museum was the only specimen prior to 
the storm of October 1934, when birds were found as far inland as Carleton. 
Several times in our experience in Oregon, fall storms have been too 
much for these little navigators and they have been driven onto the beach 
by the hundreds and sometimes thousands. When this occurs the birds, 
weak and usually extremely emaciated, sit on the sand above the breaking 
waves or crouch among the logs in the drift above the storm tide line. 
They are frequently so weak that it is almost possible to capture them 
in the hand, and numbers are killed along the coast highways by passing 
cars. Jewett first encountered one of these great groups of storm-driven 
phalaropes at Netarts Bay between September 17 and 2.9, 19x0. The next 

PHALAROPES: Family Pbalaropodidae 


Plate 44, A. Red Phalarope. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 


Plate 44, B. Male Wilson's Phalarope. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 


year Gabrielson observed a similar occurrence on the Tillamook beaches 
on October 18 and 19. Most of the birds soon disappeared, but a few 
remained on the beaches on a second visit on November 2.2.. During the 
last week of October 1934, a heavy storm killed hundreds of these birds 
along the beaches and drove thousands more inland, some into the Wil- 
lamette Valley, to be killed by cars or various other agencies. It was 
one of the most spectacular cases of bird destruction ever to come to our 

On offshore trips taken during the late summer and fall by one or both 
of the writers at irregular intervals during the past few years, these 
phalaropes were the most abundant small bird encountered; and every 
offshore trip at that season revealed their presence in numbers. On July 
2.0, 1933, Gabrielson found them common off Depoe Bay. Their breasts 
were still curiously speckled and blotched with the remaining red of the 
summer plumage. On August 30 and 31, 192.9, the two writers and Braly 
saw great numbers scattered over the ocean out 12. to 15 miles, and a few 
of those collected showed an occasional red feather. At that time the 
phalaropes were scattered in small flocks feeding on the surface and 
frequently indulging in the familiar whirling, treading performance. 
They seemed particularly partial to the "tide rips" (so called by local 
fisherman) that are produced by a combination of wind, surface current, 
and tidal movements. These rips are usually an irregular broken line 
roughly paralleling the shore and marked by masses of floating kelp, 
logs, and drift thrown overboard from passing steamers. They may be 
close to shore or many miles at sea, depending on the variations of wind 
and water movements. The phalaropes, gulls, and shearwaters, in par- 
ticular, seem to find them a prolific source of food supply, and when a 
rip forms it is usually followed by a noticeable concentration of such 
birds. We have not had an opportunity to get offshore so regularly in 
the spring, and therefore our spring records are much more scanty, de- 
pending on the shore stragglers that have appeared between March 2.7 
and May n. 

Few writers have had much to say regarding this little bird as an 
Oregon species. Townsend (1839) credited it to Oregon, and Woodcock 
(1901) said it was found at Yaquina Bay. Aside from these two refer- 
ences we have had to rely entirely on our own notes for the discussion 
of its status. 

Wilson's Phalarope: 

Steganopus tricolor Vieillot 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill slender, longer than head- toes with straight-edged marginal 
membranes; wing without white bar; female larger and handsomer than male. 
Male in breeding plumage: crown and upper parts dusky, touched with brown; sides 

PHALAROPES: Family Phalaropodidae [ 2-75 ] 

of neck with a chestnut stripe; throat and chest buffy; stripe over eye, chin, and 
belly white. Female in breeding plumage: crown and back bluish gray; black stripe 
along sides of head and neck shading into rich chestnut along lower neck and 
shoulders; chest and lower part of throat delicate cinnamon buff; upper part of 
throat, belly, and line over eye white. Adults in winter plumage: upper parts plain 
gray, chest and sides of breast grayish; rest of under parts white. Young: upper 
parts dusky, streaked with light cinnamon; under parts white, with tinge of cinna- 
mon across breast." (Bailey) Downy young: "In its natal down the young Wilson 
phalarope is entirely unlike the other phalaropes and quite different from any other 
young wader. The slender bill and long slender legs and feet are characteristic. 
It is prettily and distinctively colored also. The prevailing color of the upper parts 
and of a band across the chest is 'ochraceous buff,' deepening on the crown, wings, 
and mantle almost to 'ochraceous orange,' and paling to buffy or grayish white on 
the belly and to pure white on the chin and throat. There is a narrow, median, 
black line on the crown extending nearly or quite to the bill; this is continued in a 
broad, more or less broken, black stripe down the center of the back to a large black 
patch on the rump; a black spot on each side of the crown, one on the occiput and 
several more on wings, thighs, and sides of the back, sometimes run together to form 
stripes." (Bent) Si%e: "Female, length 9.40-10.00, wing 5.2.0-5.30, bill 1.30-1.35, 
tarsus 1.30-1.35. Male, length 8.15-9.00, wing 4.75-4.80, bill 1.15, tarsus 1.10- 
1.15." (Bailey) Nest: A depression in the ground, more or less lined with grass. 
Eggs: Usually 4, rarely 3, buff, sometimes evenly and sometimes irregularly spotted 
or blotched with dark brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Washington, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Mani- 
toba, Minnesota, Michigan, and southern Ontario south to Indiana, Missouri, 
Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and central California. Winters from 
southern United States southward far into South America. In Oregon: Abundant 
summer resident and breeding bird in Klamath, Lake, Harney, and Malheur Coun- 
ties. Breeds less commonly in Crook, Union, and perhaps other eastern Oregon 
counties where suitable marshes are found. Rare straggler west of Cascades. 

TOWNSEND (1839) fi fst discovered Wilson's Phalarope (Plate 44, 5), as 
he did so many other species, as an Oregon bird. Although it is an 
abundant summer resident and breeding bird in eastern Oregon, it appears 
west of the Cascades only as a rare straggler, the only record being that 
of Overton Dowell, Jr., from Mercer, May 15, 1917. It appears on the 
nesting ground in May (earliest date, April 2.1, Malheur County) and 
remains until August (latest date, September 2.2., Harney County). The 
eggs are laid in late May or early June (we have no definite dates), and 
the beautifully marked youngsters can run about as soon as hatched. 

This phalarope is one of Oregon's most interesting nesting birds. That 
the lady of the house wears the breeches is abundantly demonstrated by 
the fact that the male does all of the incubating and cares for the young. 
The more brilliantly colored female lays the eggs and retains an interest 
in the family as shown by her anxiety whenever any one approaches the 
nest, but so far as known, her interest does not extend to the point of 
relieving her hen-pecked spouse of any of the housekeeping drudgery. 

Throughout the breeding season, flocks sometimes of considerable 
size of nonbreeding birds are found on the marshes, and as soon as the 
young are feathered out and able to fly they join them. The flocks remain 


until August, when the southward movement begins. The birds are 
strong, swift fliers, and on occasion the flocks go through the intricate 
aerial evolutions so commonly seen among the sandpipers. 

Northern Phalarope: 

Lobipes lobatus (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill about as long as head, very slender and sharp; margins of 
toes scalloped; wing with white bar in all plumages. Male in breeding plumage: 
upper parts dark plumbeous, striped on back with buff and black; sides of neck 
rufous; chest gray; upper throat and belly white. Female in breeding plumage: 
brighter colored rufous extending across throat as well as on sides of neck. Fall 
and winter plumage: face, line over eye, and under parts white; line under eye, and 
back of head, dusky; upper parts mainly gray. Young: like winter adults, but upper 
parts darker, striped with buff and black. Length: 7-8, wing 4.00-4.45, bill .80- 
.90." (Bailey) Nest: A slight depression, lined with leaves and grass. Eggs: 4, 
buff to olive, with irregular spots and blotches of dark brown. 

DISTRIBUTION.- General: Arctic regions of both hemispheres. Breeds farther south 
than Red Phalarope, being found south to western Quebec, northern Manitoba, and 
Nushagak Island in Alaska. Winters largely at sea, its range at this season (im- 
perfectly known) extending far south into southern hemisphere. In Oregon: Com- 
mon migrant along coast. Less common but regular migrant inland. 

THE TINY NORTHERN PHALAROPE, smallest and daintiest of its kind, is also 
the most widely distributed of the three species and, all things con- 
sidered, the one the average bird student is most likely to encounter, 
unless it be Wilson's Phalarope in its eastern Oregon breeding grounds. 
It may be expected anywhere in the State during the migration periods, 
often appearing at pools seemingly too small or too remote from any 
other water to have any possible attraction for a water or shore bird. It 
is most abundant as a migrant in May and again in July, August, and 
September. Townsend (1839), who made the first general list of birds 
from this region, first credited it to Oregon, and Newberry (1857) stated 
that it was supposed to have nested on the Deschutes River in 1885, on 
report of Williamson. This record is undoubtedly a confusion with Wil- 
son's Phalarope and cannot be considered authentic, as there is no exist- 
ing evidence that the species ever bred so far south. It is interesting, 
though, that our latest spring record, an adult female, was collected from 
a roadside pool between Redmond and the Deschutes River by Gabrielson 
on June 12., 1914. The sex organs, however, showed no signs of breeding. 
Bendire (1877) saw a flock on April 2.6, 1876, at Malheur Lake, and 
Mearns (1879) reported it from Klamath. Since that time numerous 
observers have reported it in migration. Peck (191 la) reported seeing it 
in northern Malheur County on July 2,1, and our own notes and collec- 
tions contain records and specimens from the following eastern Oregon 
counties: Klamath, Harney, Umatilla, Grant, Deschutes, and Morrow. 
Two of these specimens warrant special mention, as they furnish the two 
earliest fall records of this little phalarope. One, in the Jewett collec- 

JAEGERS : Family Stercorariidae [ 2.77 ] 

tion, was taken by E. Rett at the Narrows, Harney County, July z, 19x5; 
and the second, now in the United States National Museum, was col- 
lected by Jewett at Strawberry Lake, high in the Blue Mountains of 
Grant County, on July 15, 1915. This leaves little gap between the last 
spring bird (June 12.) and those first going southward in the fall. We 
consider, however, that the June 12. bird was a very belated straggler 
perhaps weakened enough from some cause to prevent the northward 
flight at the normal season. Except for this one bird, our latest spring 
record is May 19, which may be regarded as much nearer the normal 
period of departure. These few early southward-moving individuals, 
moreover, might easily be nonbreeding birds or individuals whose nests 
had been destroyed too late in the season to allow a second clutch. Aside 
from the two birds mentioned above and a July 6 sight record for Tilla- 
mook County, about July zo seems to be the normal date for the arrival 
of the southbound birds. Our latest fall record is October 6 (Klamath 
County). In western Oregon we have noted the species in Jackson, 
Josephine, and Multnomah Counties as straggling individuals or in small 
flocks, and along the coast, from Curry to Clatsop Counties, as a common 

Although this dainty little phalarope is most abundant offshore, some- 
times exceeding the Red Phalarope in numbers, it is not such a confirmed 
lover of the briny deep as the latter and is found much more commonly 
along the beaches and tide flats. When on the ocean, it acts much as 
does its larger and heavier cousin; when in the tide pools and shallows 
of the bay, numbers of them can frequently be seen sitting quietly on the 
water or converting themselves into tiny "Whirling Dervishes" as they 
tread up the water, pausing now and then to pick up some small repre- 
sentative of the abundant aquatic life disturbed by the small feet. 

Jaegers: Family Stercorariidae 

Pomarine Jaeger: 

Stercorarius pomarinus (Temminck) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Light phase: face, crown, and upper parts, except collar, 
sooty black; throat white, becoming silky yellow on cheeks and around back of 
neck; breast white, chest and sides mottled with sooty. Dark phase: wholly dark 
sooty or plumbeous. All grades are found between the dark and light phases. 
Young: back dusky, feathers tipped with buff; rest of plumage dull buff, barred with 
dusky." (Bailey) Downy young: "Immaculate grayish brown (between benzo brown 
and deep brownish drab) passing into paler (between benzo brown and drab) on 
chin and under parts of body; bill brownish, the legs and feet much paler brownish. ' ' 
(Ridgway 1919.) Si%e: "Length 2.0-13, wing 13.50-14.00, tail 8-9, bill 1.45-1.75." 
(Bailey) Nest: A slight depression in the soil, just large enough to accommodate 
the eggs. Eggs: z to 3, ground color "brownish olive" to "dark olive buff," 
sparingly spotted with brown, drab, or gray. 


DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on shores of Arctic Ocean and migrates south along 
coast to winter in southern hemisphere. In Oregon: Along coast in spring and fall 
migrations, known from three specimens only. 

THE POMARINE JAEGER, the largest of the jaegers, may undoubtedly be 
looked for along the Oregon coast in both spring and fall migrations. It 
is most likely to occur in April, May, August, and September, although 
stragglers may possibly be found at any time. It seems to keep well off- 
shore, as do so many of the species that travel this coast. In our numerous 
bird-collecting trips offshore we have met with it only twice and have 
taken only three specimens an immature female (Gabrielson Coll. No. 
182.2.), September 2.3, 1932., just south of the end of the south jetty at 
the mouth of the Columbia, and an adult female (Gabrielson Coll. No. 
2.567) and an immature bird (Jewett Coll.), both September 8, 1933, off 
Depoe Bay. We saw perhaps a dozen birds on those days, some of them 
adults with the characteristic twisted tail feathers and odd plumage very 
well marked. Five of them flew across our stem just out of gunshot. 
Their flight, in contrast with that of the gulls, consisted of rather steady, 
deliberate, and powerful wing beats. As the birds were not feeding and 
were not molesting the swarming gulls and shearwaters, as is their 
custom, we were not fortunate enough to see the wonderful aerial acro- 
batics in which they indulge at such times. 

The jaegers are the hawks of the sea. On their breeding grounds they 
feed on the eggs and young of other birds and harry the gulls and terns 
until they drop any food they may have obtained and then dive after the 
morsel themselves, usually seizing it before it strikes the water. 

Parasitic Jaeger: 

Stercorarius farasiticus (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults. Light phase: upper parts slaty, becoming blackish on crown, 
wings, and tail; throat and under parts white; sides of head and neck white or 
grayish, tinged with yellow. Dark phase: entire plumage slaty or sooty, darkest on 
crown, wings, and tail. Young: head and neck streaked, and under parts spotted 
and barred with buff and dusky." (Bailey) Downy young: "Sooty brown above, paler 
below; but the downy young of dark parents are deepest in hue." (Saunders, 1896.) 
Si%e: "Length 15.50-2.1.00, wing 12.. 67, tail 7-9, bill 1.2.7." (Bailey) Nest: An un- 
lined depression in the ground. Eggs: 2., dull olive, varying to green, gray, or 
brown ground color, with spots, blotches, and lines of a sepia, drab, dark chocolate, 
or umber vinaceous. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Arctic and Subarctic regions of both hemispheres. 
Winters from southern coast of United States southward, also along southern shores 
in Old World. Passes in migration along United States coasts in spring and fall. 
In Oregon: Spring and fall migrant along coast. One definite record only. 

THE PARASITIC JAEGER undoubtedly is a regular migrant along the Oregon 
coast, both spring and fall, although a skin (Jewett Coll. No. 3470) 
taken by Dr. Flynn near Scappoose, just below Portland on the Columbia 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [ 2.79 ] 

River, in September 1909, is the only definite specimen recorded for the 
State. This bird was badly decomposed when found and it was impossible 
to tell the sex. We saw one or two birds off Newport, August 30, 1930. 
In comparison with the larger Pomarine Jaeger, the Parasitic Jaeger is a 
rapid and graceful flier and more falconlike in appearance. We have not 
met with it frequently in our offshore trips, but it should be looked for, 
particularly during April, May, August, and September. 

This jaeger is included by Woodcock (1902.), on A. W. Anthony's 
statement concerning Parasitic and Long-tailed Jaegers: "I have seen 
both species off the Oregon coast in winter." As there are no recent 
records of the Long-tailed Jaeger and we are unable to find any actual 
specimens from Oregon, we are placing that species in the hypothetical 
list until such time as we are able to gather more definite information 
regarding its status. 

Gulls and Terns: Family Laridae 

Glaucous Gull: 

Larus hy-berboreus Gunnerus 

DESCRIPTION. Primaries white or light gray, shading into white at ends. Adults 
in summer: Mantle, i.e. back and top of wings, light pearl gray; rest of plumage 
white. Adults in winter: head and neck streaked with grayish. Young: whitish, 
tinged below and mottled above with brownish gray." (Bailey) Downy young: 
"The young chick is covered with long, soft, thick down, grayish white above 
and almost pure white below, tinged with buff on the throat and breast. The back 
is clouded or blotched with 'smoke gray,' and the head and throat are distinctly 
marked with numerous large and small spots of 'fuscous black,' the number and 
extent of the markings varying in different individuals." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 
16-31, wing 16.75-18.75, bill z. 30-1. 70." (Bailey) Nest: Usually a depression, 
lined with soft grass and moss. Eggs: 2. or 3, ground color brown or buff, irregularly 
spotted and blotched with darker brown or drab. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Arctic Coasts of both hemispheres south in this 
continent to Kuskokwim River and Newfoundland. Winters south to Monterey 
Bay, California, and Long Island. In Oregon: Rare winter visitor to coast and 
Columbia River. 

ON THE BASIS of present records, the Glaucous Gull, or burgomaster, 
must be listed as an unusual visitor to Oregon. There are three known 
specimens one (University of Oregon Coll. No. 12.77) taken April 2.8, 
1915, by Shelton, a second (Jewett Coll. No. 3515) taken on Sauvies 
Island, December 12., 1914 (Jewett and Gabrielson 192.9), and the third 
taken by Gabrielson at Tillamook Bay, January 2.8, 1933. In addition, 
the authors have occasionally seen large pale gulls on the Willamette 
River in Portland harbor that were probablv this species. One individual 


noted several times in January 192.2. was almost certainly a Glaucous Gull. 
We have seen several similar birds on Tillamook Bay in addition to 
Gabrielson's specimen. 

This, the largest gull that visits Oregon, is distinguishable from all 
others by its pale pearl-gray mantle and wings, the latter fading to pure 
white at the tips. The remainder of the body is pure white, with some 
dusky mottling and clouding in immature birds. There are no traces of 
the dusky coloring and white mirrors that are found on the wing tips 
of the other gulls. It can be confused only with the Glaucous-winged 
Gull, its smaller and more abundant relative but can be distinguished 
from it by the differences of the wing pattern. 

Glaucous-winged Gull: 

Larus glaucescens Naumann 

DESCRIPTION. -"Adults in summer: Mantle light pearl gray; primaries gray, with 
distinct white tips; rest of plumage white. Adults in winter: head and neck clouded 
with sooty gray. Young: deep ashy gray; head and neck streaked, and rest of upper 
parts mottled with grayish white or dull buff." (Bailey) Downy young: "The 
downy young is 'drab gray' above, variegated with 'avellaneous,' and a paler shade 
of the same color below, fading to 'tilleul buff' on the center of the breast. It is 
heavily spotted on the back with 'fuscous black* and on the head and throat with 
pure black." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 2.3.70-2.7.75, wing 16. 2.5-17. 30, bill 2.. 2.0-1.60, 
depth of bill at angle .80-. 90." (Bailey) Nest: Well made of grass, seaweed, or 
kelp, placed either on ledges on a steep cliff or on grassy or sandy flats of small 
islands. Eggs: 2. or 3, much like those of similar gulls, ground color buff to pale 
olive, more or less spotted or blotched with darker browns. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on coast and adjacent islands of north Pacific as far 
south as Destruction Island, Washington. Winters on Pacific Coast as far south as 
Lower California. In Oregon: Abundant winter resident of coast, probably most 
common wintering gull. Recorded from Clatsop, Tillamook, Lincoln, Douglas, 
Lane, Coos, and Curry Counties on coast and regularly from Columbia, Multnomah, 
and Clackamas Counties inland. Straggles inland at least as far as Morrow County. 

THE GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, the largest of the common gulls on the 
Oregon coast, first listed by Newberry (1857), may be distinguished from 
all others by the silvery-gray lining of its wings and the distinct white 
tips of the primary feathers. In other words, it entirely lacks the black 
wing tips that are found in all other gulls common in Oregon. It has 
been observed in every month except July, although it is not known 
to breed south of Destruction Island, Washington. It is common from mid- 
August to late May, being found throughout the latter part of May and 
June in diminishing numbers. Those that spend most of the summer with 
us are probably nonbreeding individuals. As soon as the young are able 
to fly, however, immature birds commence to appear on our coast. This 
usually happens in early August, and by September i this species is 
common. The great wintering flocks of gulls that frequent every harbor 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [ 2.81 ] 

and the mouth of every fresh-water stream in winter are composed of 
several species, but the Glaucous-winged Gull is probably the most 
abundant of them all. It has been found in every coast county of the 
State, not only along the shore but following the streams inland to feed 
on dead salmon that spawn in the fall and winter months. It follows 
the Columbia and is the most common wintering gull at Portland and 
up the Columbia, at least as far as Vancouver, and to the Falls of the 
Willamette on that stream. It occasionally goes farther inland. It has 
been observed in midwinter as far up the Columbia as Heppner Junction 
in Morrow County and can be looked for up the Willamette occasionally 
and probably up the Rogue farther than we have observed it. 

One of the interesting things on the Oregon coast during the winter 
is the great congregation of gulls that takes place in rough weather. 
Apparently during fair weather the gulls scatter widely along the coast 
and out to sea, taking refuge in the more sheltered bays and inlets at 
the beginning of a severe storm. In December 1930 the writers were 
together at Gold Beach, Oregon, just as a rather severe southwester 
broke. Before the storm there had not been an unusual number of gulls 
in the river mouth. As the storm broke, gulls commenced to arrive in 
straggling groups from all directions, alighting on a sand spit at the 
river mouth, until there were acres of birds congregated. In this great 
conglomeration, Glaucous-winged Gulls were the most abundant species 
and remained so during two days that we stayed in the territory. Decem- 
ber 7, 1931, there was a similar congregation of gulls on the Columbia 
River bottoms at Portland, and again the Glaucous-winged Gulls were 
the most abundant species. This great congregation persisted for three 
days and then broke up until only the usual number of birds were present. 

Like all gulls, these are masters of the air, and the sight of them on 
the wing is one of the real attractions on the Oregon coast. Even in the 
heaviest storms, when nearly all other birds are glad to find sheltered 
places, the gulls may be seen over the breakers fighting their way into 
the teeth of the gale with powerful wing beats and cleverly taking 
advantage of the breakers themselves to make progress against the wind. 
We have often seen them indulging in this pastime apparently for the 
pure joy of fighting the storm. They will fight their way against the 
wind for some distance, whirl upward, and drift with the storm for long 
distances before again taking up their flight. We have also watched 
them apparently feeding on small schools of surface-feeding fish off the 
breakwaters during the stormiest periods that come on the Oregon coast. 

Few of the larger salt-water gulls are of any particular economic sig- 
nificance, although as they come into the fields for rest during the stormy 
periods they may do some good by catching mice. They certainly do no 
damage, as the fish they obtain are small surface-feeding anchovies and 
other small species that abound on the Oregon coast. Primarily gulls are 


scavengers. They clean up quickly any dead birds and fish brought in 
along the beaches and follow the migrating salmon into the streams, 
sometimes in countless thousands, quickly consuming the fish that perish 
after spawning. They also follow the great smelt runs into the Columbia 
River, and the progress of the runs can be marked by the horde of gulls 
circling and screaming over the myriads of fish. One of two stomachs 
taken at Netarts, December 13, 1910, contained 47 Lepas anatijera; the 
other, 18. One taken at Portland, December iz, 1914, contained scales 
and bones from a large fish that was evidently refuse matter. The 
Glaucous-winged Gull is conspicuous in the great numbers of birds that 
congregate around salmon canneries, where they quickly clean up the 
refuse. In all, these gulls do no harm while in the State and add much 
of interest to the winter bird life of the beaches. 

Western Gull: 

Larus occidentalis occidentalis Audubon 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer: Mantle dark slaty gray; primaries, including 
inner webs of first, second, and usually third, black, tipped with white; rest of 
plumage white. Adults in winter: top of head and back of neck streaked with dusky. 
Young: upper parts brownish slaty, varied with buff and whitish; quills and tail dull 
black, usually tipped with white; under parts brownish gray, specked or spotted 
with whitish." (Bailey) (See Plate 45, A.~) Downy young: "The downy young is 
'drab gray' above varied with 'avellaneous' or other shades of buff. Some indi- 
viduals are grayer and others are brighter buff in color. The lower parts are lighter 
colored, paling to 'tilleul buff' on the center of the breast; sometimes the breast is 
bright clear 'avellaneous' buff in newly hatched young, the colors fading as the 
youngster grows. The back is heavily spotted with 'fuscous black' and the head 
and throat with pure black." (Bent) Si^e: "Length 2.4-2.7, wing 15.75-17.00, bill 
1.00-1.35, depth of bill at angle .85-. 95." (Bailey) Nest: Of seaweed, grass, and 
similar material, usually placed in a slight depression on rocky ledges or on more 
level ground on small offshore islands. Eggs: 2. or 3, much like those of other gulls, 
buff to olive ground color, heavily splotched and marked with various shades of 
brown (Plate 45, 5). 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Pacific Coast from Washington south to Lower 
California. Winters over same territory, spreading north to British Columbia and 
south to Mexican coast. In Oregon: Remains year round. Breeds along entire coast 
wherever it can find suitable conditions. In winter, wanders inland to at least 
Portland, The Dalles, and Corvallis. 

THE WESTERN GULL (Plate 46), the largest and darkest-backed of any of 
the black-primaried gulls, is the only one that breeds on the Oregon 
coast. It remains the year around and travels from the coast up the 
rivers to at least as far as Portland, Oregon City, occasionally Corvallis 
(Woodcock 1902.), and The Dalles, but it is not as abundant inland as 
some of the other species. In fact we consider it one of the less common 
gulls on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers near Portland, where it is 
usually outnumbered in the Portland Harbor by the Glaucous-winged, 

GULLS AND TERNS: family Laridae 



Short-billed, and California Gulls. It seems to be confined more to the 
seacoast than the Glaucous-winged and is one of the abundant species in 
the great wintering flocks there. It can be distinguished from other gulls 
in adult plumage by its large size, dark slaty-blue back, and black-tipped 
wings, the ends of which are decorated with small white oval mirrors. 

So far as we know, there are no valid records for this species east of 
the Cascade Mountains. Bendire's notes (Brewer 1875 and Bendire 1877), 
made at Old Fort Harney, contain references to the Western Gull; but he 
collected no specimens, and he himself questioned whether or not the 
birds were of this species. Since there are no specimen records for the 
Western Gull in that territory and the California Gull is exceedingly 
abundant there, we believe that Bendire's records cannot be accepted. 
The status of the Western Gull then, as we know it at present, is that of 
an abundant coastal resident that straggles inland up the streams to a 
less extent than do some of the other coast-loving species. 

During the summer it is the all-abundant resident gull on the coast, 
where its beautiful white plumage and dark slaty-gray mantle form an 
attractive feature of the beaches and rocky points. It nests on nearly 
every suitable rock from Curry to Clatsop County. The largest and best- 
known colony is the one on Three Arch Rocks Reservation. Other 
colonies known to us are on Otter Rock, the rocks at the mouth of 
Pistol River, and the rocks off Bandon. In addition, there are many 
smaller colonies in suitable spots. The nests are rather bulky affairs of 
seaweeds, grasses, and other material, usually built in a somewhat slight 
depression in the rocks (Plate 45, 5). There these gulls lay their two or 
three eggs and raise their fuzzy, buffy youngsters. The nests are usually 
fairly well constructed for gulls' nests, but become filthy before the 
nesting season is over. When the young are able to fly, they too forage 
up and down the beach and in their first plumage are the darkest-colored 
gulls in Oregon (Plate 45, A). 

A great deal of propaganda is directed against gulls by certain sports- 
men who feel that these birds destroy immense numbers of game birds 
and fish. So far as the Western Gull is concerned, there is no ground for 
such an indictment, as it does not enter any territory where game birds 
live and such fish as it gets are small surface-feeding ones of little use to 
man. It is essentially a scavenger of the beaches, quickly pouncing upon 
and eating any dead fish or other marine life that may be washed ashore 
and working up the streams to feast on the spawned-out salmon. One of 
the most interesting and intelligent performances of this bird is its habit 
of taking small clams high in the air and dropping them onto a rocky 
beach or other hard surface to break them open. It drops a clam, then 
quickly follows it down, reaching the ground almost as soon as the 
missile. We have watched this performance many times while waiting 
for the ferry on the South Ferry Slip at Newport, where from one or two 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [2-85] 

to a dozen Western Gulls may be observed carrying on this type of aerial 
bombardment, which is one of the most amusing spectacles on the Oregon 
coast. Many of the clams miss the slip entirely and land in the mud below. 
The birds seldom try to reclaim these wild shots. Some of the gulls 
become quite skillful in gauging their speed and height and hit the 
narrow roadway with a high degree of regularity and accuracy. We 
have observed this species at various times dropping clams on rocky or 
stony beaches also, particularly Netarts Bay in Tillamook County. 

About summer resorts and salmon canneries, where they become ac- 
customed to feeding from garbage dumps and cannery refuse, the Western 
Gulls become exceedingly tame during the summer as they forage about. 
They may then be observed at very close range and their plumage studied 
in detail. During salmon-canning season, every cannery is decorated with 
a line of gulls along the roof ridge and usually every available piling, 
as well as every perch, is taken by these white-robed scavengers. When 
material is dumped, it immediately becomes the center of a screaming, 
fighting horde of gulls, each struggling to obtain more than its share of 
the food, completely destroying any opinion of daintiness or refinement 
that might have been derived from its angelic livery. 

Few actual stomach examinations of Western Gulls taken in Oregon 
have been made. One taken on December 6, 1913, was full of remains of 
clam shells and fish bones, another taken on December 1.7 of the same 
year was full of unidentified fish roe, and a third, taken on December 2.8, 
19x0, contained one earthworm and pieces of mollusk shell. The earth- 
worm item might indicate that the gulls have a habit of picking up 
earthworms when, during heavy storms at sea, they are driven for shelter 
to pasture lands, congregating in great white fleets to rest between buffet- 
ings by the storms. 

Herring Gull: 

Larus argentatus smiths onianus Coues 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer: Mantle delicate pearl gray- five outer primaries 
black toward ends, and tipped with white; a distinct gray wedge on inner web of 
second quill; rest of plumage white; bill, yellow, with red spot near end of lower 
mandible; feet pale flesh color. Adults in winter: head and neck streaked with gray- 
ish. Young: brownish gray; head and neck streaked with white; back mottled with 
buffy and gray; quills and tail blackish; bill dusky, feet purplish." (Bailey) Downy 
young: "The downy young are of a buffy yellow color, nearly white below and dusky 
on the back. They are thickly marked with black spots above. The bill is horn 
color, with a pink tip, after the white pipping knob has disappeared; the feet, dusky 
pink." (Bent) Size: "Length 2.2.. 50-16.00, wing 17.2.4, bill 2.. 2.4, depth of bill 
through angle of lower mandible .68-. 85." (Bailey) Nest: Usual gull nest of grass, 
weeds, and seaweeds, built on the ground or rocks, though sometimes in trees. 
Eggs: i to 4, usually z or 3, ground color varying from light blues and grays to dark 
browns, more or less irregularly marked or blotched with darker browns or 



GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [ 2.87 ] 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Almost world-wide in northern hemisphere. In North 
America, breeds south to Maine, Great Lakes, and central British Columbia and 
winters irregularly south to West Indies and to Mexico on west coast. In Oregon: 
Uncertain status. In light of our present knowledge, can only be considered an 
uncommon winter visitor represented by five specimens and a number of unsatis- 
factory sight records. 

MANY OBSERVERS have reported the Herring Gull on the Oregon coast, 
some of them as a common species. Townsend (1839) was the first to 
record it, but so far as we can learn left no specimens to confirm the state- 
ment. A. W. Anthony, according to Woodcock (1901), reported it as 
equally abundant with the Glaucous-winged Gull on the Oregon coast, 
a statement that certainly is not applicable to present-day conditions. 
Jewett reported it in 19x1 as found on Netarts Bay but had only one 
specimen. Whatever its status in the past, we are not able to find it as 
a common visitor to the Oregon coast today, although it is reported 
commonly from Washington and as a regular winter resident of the 
California coast. 

We have collected a great many gulls in an endeavor to determine the 
correct status of the Herring Gull, and so far as we know the following 
are the only specimens of this species: T. R. Peale collected one, labeled 
Oregon, that is now in the United States National Museum (No. 12.587); 
Jewett has an adult male that was picked up dead on the beach near Seal 
Rocks, Lincoln County, on December 15, 1930, while we were on a trip 
up the Oregon coast; Gabrielson collected two adult males on the Colum- 
bia River (Coll. Nos. 2.194 and 2.195) on January 2.5, 1933, and saw a 
number of others; and John Carter has a female (No. 61) collected on the 
same trip. These specimens confirm the sight records of Rufus Comstock, 
of Vancouver, who reports a few individuals regularly about the Van- 
couver water front. At other times we have seen large pale gulls that 
we took to be this species but have not been able to collect them, and 
even these have not been at all common on the Oregon coast. The species 
may be more common than our records indicate, however, as it could 
easily be overlooked in the great hordes of gulls found during the winter 
months at the mouth of every fresh-water stream that enters the ocean. 

Thayer's Gull: 

Lams argentatus thayeri Brooks 

DESCRIPTION. Like the Herring Gull but paler and with less black in the wing tips. 
The bill shows a tendency to be more slender than the average of smithsonianus . 
Si%e: Male, wing 16.18-16.93, tail 6-42.-6.89, tarsus 1.44-1.68, toe without claw 1.01- 
1.10, culmen 1.93-1.44, depth at base of bill 0.65-0.79; female, wing 14.96-15.95, 
tail 5.71-6.50, tarsus 1.18-1.56, toe without claw 1.85-1.13, culmen 1.69-1.10, 
depth at base of bill 0.55-0.75 (Dwight, 1915). Nest and eggs: Same as for Herring 


DISTRIBUTION. General: Arctic Coast and islands west of Greenland, to Point 
Barrow in migration, south in winter to coast of British Columbia and California. 
In Oregon: Uncommon winter visitor known with certainty from a few specimens. 

ON DECEMBER 2.2., 1932., Gabrielson collected an adult female (Gabrielson 
Coll. No. 2.098) on the Columbia River near Portland that proved to be 
a Thayer's Gull. An immature bird (Gabrielson Coll. No. 2.196), taken 
January T.^, 1933, near the same spot, was very puzzling. It matched 
closely a single bird in Jewett's collection, taken at Netarts, August xo, 
192.5, but we could not find similar birds in any of the collections avail- 
able to us including those of the Biological Survey and the United States 
National Museum. By process of elimination the birds were finally placed 
as L. a. thayeri. Later they were sent to George Willett for comparison 
with the fine series of northern gulls in the Bishop collection. He con- 
firmed the identification, and today these are the only definite records for 
this form from the State. Thayer's Gull cannot be distinguished in life 
from the Herring Gull, and careful comparison with the skins in hand is 
required to establish its identity. In habits and behavior it is like the 
other species that make up the swarming hordes of gulls found on the 
Oregon coast and the Columbia River during winter. 

California Gull: 

Larus californicus Lawrence 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Mantle clear bluish gray; outer primaries black, tipped with 
white, the first two with subterminal white spots; a distinct gray wedge on inner 
web of second; bill yellow, with red and black spot near end of lower mandible; feet 
greenish. Young: upper parts coarsely spotted and mottled with dusky, buffy, 
grayish, and whitish; under parts mottled and streaked; quills and tail blackish; bill 
dusky, with black tip." (Bailey) Downy young: "The young bird when first 
hatched, is covered with thick, soft down of plain, light colors to match its sur- 
roundings, 'light buff' to 'cartridge buff,' brightest on the head and breast; the 
upper parts and throat are clouded or variegated with light grayish, and the head 
is sparingly spotted with dull black." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 2.0-2.3, wing 15.00- 
16.75, bill 1.65-1.15, depth of bill at angle .60-. 75." (Bailey) Nest: Of usual gull 
type, usually on ground, composed of weeds, grass, bits of sticks, feathers, and other 
similar available material. Eggs: 2. or 3, similar to other gulls' eggs, ground color 
varying shades of brown or buff, irregularly spotted and blotched with browns and 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Great Slave Lake, Canada, and Stump and 
Devils Lake, North Dakota, south to northern Utah and west to central British 
Columbia and northeastern California. Winters on Pacific Coast from British Colum- 
bia to Lower California. In Oregon: Breeds in Klamath (Spring and Upper Klamath 
Lakes), Lake (Summer and, formerly, Silver Lakes), and Harney (Malheur Lake) 
Counties. Winters largely on coast and sparingly on open water anywhere in State. 
A few summer birds remain on coast but do not breed. 

THE BEAUTIFUL medium-sized California Gull (Plate 47, A) was first 
noted by Newberry (1857), who found it at the mouth of the Columbia 
in October 1855. It is now one of the most widely distributed and 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae 

[z8 9 ] 

J. .* 

ttSm * 

Plate 47, A. California Gulls. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

Plate 47, B. California Gull colony. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 


abundant gulls found in Oregon and has been recorded for every month 
and from every county. Somewhat smaller than the Western and Herring 
Gulls and larger than the Ring-billed, it is one of the species that make 
for confusion in the identification of gulls. It can be distinguished from 
the Western Gull by its much paler back and by its paler under parts in 
comparable plumages, but it is more or less easily confused with the 
smaller Ring-billed Gulls, particularly by those who are just beginning 
the study of birds. 

In general, the California Gull, the most abundant breeding gull in 
Oregon, will be found during the breeding season in the great alkaline 
lakes and swamps in the eastern part of the State, where it forms huge 
nesting colonies (Plate 47, B). In these great interior nesting colonies, 
nest construction and egg laying usually start in late April or early May, 
and young birds commence to hatch in increasing numbers around June i. 
There is great variation in the nests built. Some of them are fairly com- 
pact structures of dry grass and other vegetation, and in some cases the 
eggs are laid on almost bare ground. The gulls stay as long as there is 
open water, and stray individuals remain along the Columbia, Snake, 
and Klamath Rivers well into the winter, if not through the entire season. 
There are colonies at Malheur Lake in the Harney Valley, at Summer 
Lake in the Warner Valley, and usually one or more on Upper Klamath 
Lake in the Klamath Basin; and recently a colony has been established 
in Spring Lake, a small pond a few miles out of Klamath Falls. There is 
a colony just across the line on the Clear Lake Reservation in California. 

The colony in Harney Valley has been written about by every observer 
who has traveled this country since Bendire's time. In some years, it is 
on Malheur Lake, in others in some of the other swamps in the valley, 
and frequently during the past few years has been on the Island Ranch 
north of Malheur Lake. There, in 192.6, the season when we made the 
last careful inspection of the colony, we estimated that on a little sage- 
and greasewood-grown island there were between 1,500 and i.,ooo pairs 
of California Gulls nesting and a smaller number of Ring-billed Gulls and 
Caspian Terns. At the time of our visit on June 4, numerous nests con- 
tained two or three fresh-looking eggs and there were many young just 
hatched and quite a number grown to the size of pigeons or larger that 
were able to walk and swim off in little groups as we approached the 

The visit to this colony, as to all other great bird rookeries, was an 
exciting event. From a distance the colony looked like gigantic swarms 
of bees, circling and darting as the parent gulls traveled to and from their 
feeding grounds to the colony. As the intruders approached, a constantly 
growing swarm of gulls hovered overhead until the screaming became 
almost deafening. The colony, as usual, was filthy and odoriferous. The 
birds had been feeding the young on grasshoppers, and the surface of the 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [2.91] 

ground was strewn with remains of these insects. After half an hour or 
so had been spent in the colony, we were glad to get away from the din 
and smell, although it was an interesting and fascinating place. 

After the breeding season, as soon as the young are able to fly, the 
gulls commence to scatter. In late July or early August, individual 
California Gulls, Ring-billed Gulls, and sometimes other species appear 
in the high mountain lakes of Oregon, where they cause great consterna- 
tion among the hatchery men engaged in releasing trout in these lakes. 
Such observations and stomach examinations as we have been able to 
make, however, indicate that the gulls gather there to feed on the 
abundance of wind-blown insects found on the surface of the lakes at 
that season and to perform their usual office of scavengers along the shore 
line. By the first of October, the numbers of California Gulls in eastern 
Oregon are very greatly depleted, although scattered individuals and 
small groups may be found through the entire winter where open water 
is available. In late July these gulls commence to appear in increasing 
numbers in western Oregon, on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers near 
Portland, and on the coast, until by October they are one of the abundant 
gulls found there. Gulls banded in the Klamath colonies have been taken 
frequently on the Lincoln County coast, showing a definite north and 
west movement from the breeding grounds. 

Like all other gulls, the California Gulls are scavengers, particularly 
during the winter. We have made no stomach examinations of this 
species, and the only stomach available, taken June 2.1 at Portland, con- 
tained bones of one catfish. Undoubtedly the species is of economic 
benefit in the vicinity of its great colonies, where remains of ground 
squirrels, mice, crayfish, carp, small minnows, grasshoppers, crickets, 
and other insects indicate its omniverous food habits. A monument to 
this species was erected in Salt Lake City many years ago in commemora- 
tion of its destruction of crickets. 

Ring-billed Gull: 

Lams delaivarensis Ord 

DESCRIPTION. ''Adults: Mantle light pearl gray; bill greenish yellow, crossed near 
end by a distinct black band, tip yellow or orange; eyelids vermilion, iris pale 
yellow; feet pale yellow, sometimes tinged with greenish. Young: upper parts 
dusky, feathers bordered and marked with grayish buff or whitish; under parts 
white, spotted along sides with grayish brown; quills blackish, the shorter ones 
gray at base and tipped with white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young 
have at least two distinct color phases, both of which are often found in the same 
nest. In the gray phase the upper parts are 'smoke gray' or 'pale smoke gray,' in 
the buffy phase the upper parts are 'pinkish buff' or 'vinaceous buff.' They are 
lighter below and almost white on the breast; they are distinctly spotted with 'hair 
brown' or 'sepia' on the head and neck, and more faintly mottled with the same 
color on the back." (Bent) Si^e: "Length 18-10, wing 13.60-15.75, bill 1.55- 


1.75, depth at angle of lower mandible .50^.65." (Bailey) Nest: Usually on the 
ground on small islands, occasionally in the tules, constructed of the usual dried 
grasses, weeds, and small sticks (Plate 48, A). Eggs: 2. to 3, ground color various 
shades of brown or buff, spotted and blotched with browns, grays, and drabs. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Canada through North Dakota to 
Great Salt Lake and west to southern Oregon and southern Alaska. Winters along 
both coasts of United States and northern Mexico and north to Idaho, Montana, and 
Great Lakes in winter. In Oregon: Breeds in Klamath (Spring Lake), Lake (Warner 
Lake), and Harney (Malheur Lake) Counties. Winters regularly on coast, Colum- 
bia River, at least as far inland as Portland, and occasionally, at least, inland on 
any open water. 

THE RING-BILLED GULL, a beautiful little bird, in some of its immature 
phases is one of the most daintily marked of any of the gulls in Oregon. 
In many respects it is a miniature California Gull, except for the dark 
band about the bill during the breeding season, which easily distinguishes 
the adults from their larger relatives. In some of the immature plumages, 
a subterminal tail band of black is also a distinct mark and enables one 
with little or no difficulty to pick out particular individuals as Ring- 
billed Gulls. In other seasons, it might well be confused with both 
California and Short-billed Gulls on the wing. Gulls seen in eastern 
Oregon at any season of the year are almost certainly this species or the 
California Gull. 

Since Townsend (1839) first reported it from Oregon, and Bendire 
(1877) published the first breeding record, the Ring-billed Gull has been 
mentioned frequently in the papers of field workers in the State. As these 
birds are great wanderers, they are likely to be found anywhere in the 
State, particularly on inland waters (Plate 48, 5). They remain in the 
interior until the lakes and ponds begin to freeze, and straggling indi- 
viduals remain about open water, occasionally at least, throughout the 
winter. The few individuals that once in a while remain on the coast 
during the breeding season are undoubtedly nonbreeders, as there is 
nothing in our records to indicate that this species ever breeds anywhere 
in the State except in the great alkaline marshes in the southeastern part. 

Each of the great colonies of California Gulls in Warner Valley, Mal- 
heur Lake, and the Klamath Basin contains its quota of Ring-billed Gulls 
nesting in a separate and distinct area that is usually almost entirely 
surrounded by nests of the more abundant California Gulls. The Ring- 
bills are in such decided minority, however, that they are a negligible 
factor in the noise and bustle of the gull colony. They lay their eggs in 
late April or early May, and by the first of June hatching is well under 
way. Following the breeding season they spread from their inland homes 
to the high Cascade lakes and the coast. In late July or early August, 
they are usually found in the Cascades and by mid-August, on the coast, 
where they form a rather minor element in the great wintering gull flocks. 

Their food, as reported in various sources, consists of a great variety 

GULLS AND TERNS: Fami'y Laridae 

Plate 48, A. Nest and eggs of Ring-billed Gull. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 

Plate 48, B. Ring-billed Gulls. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 


of insects, small fish, and crayfish, and the species is undoubtedly of 
value in the destruction of grasshoppers, crickets, and various species of 
beetles, particularly on its breeding grounds. One stomach from Klamath 
Falls, taken September 2.3, 1916, contained fragments of a dragonfly and 
pieces of a small fish. Another, from Warner Valley, taken May 18, 19x0, 
contained three minnows, a weevil, and a water beetle. A third, from 
Warner Valley, taken May 2.0, 192.3, contained 2.7 carabid beetles, a water 
beetle, a cricket, and a spider. In the winter, in common with the other 
gulls, the Ring-bill becomes a scavenger on the Oregon coast and inlets 
and helps to keep the beaches clear of dead fish, birds, and other animal 

Short-billed Gull: 

Larus canus brachyrhynchus Richardson 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer: Mantle light pearl gray; rest of plumage, except 
quills, white; outer primary mainly black, with a large white spot near end; second 
primary with a smaller white spot, white tip, and wedge of gray on inner web; 
third with white tip and a large white space on inner web between gray and black; 
bill greenish, with yellow tip; feet and legs greenish. Adults in winter: head, neck, 
and chest mottled with dusky. Young: upper parts grayish brown, feathers 
bordered with pale grayish buff; head, neck, and lower parts brownish gray; tail 
gray at base, brownish gray toward end, and narrowly tipped with white." (Bailey) 
Downy young: The young, when first hatched, is well covered with a warm coat of 
soft, thick down, 'pale drab-gray' to 'pale smoke-gray' on the upper parts, sides, 
and throat; 'pale pinkish buff' on the breast and belly; and tinged with the latter 
color on the sides of the head and neck. The frontal and loral region is clear black. 
The sides of the head and neck are boldly and clearly spotted with black in a very 
distinct pattern, the spots coalescing into an indistinct Y on the crown; an irregular 
W on the occiput; a large distinct crescent on the cervix; and a small crescent on the 
throat. The remainder of the upper parts are heavily but less distinctly mottled 
with duller black, becoming grayer posteriorly. The under parts are unspotted." 
(Bent) Si%e: "Length 16.50-18.00, wing 13.95, bill 1.45, depth of bill at angle 
.40-. 50." (Bailey) Nest: Poorly constructed of twigs and grass in small trees or 
on the ground. Eggs: 2. or 3, ground color brown to buff, spotted and blotched 
with various shades of brown and drab. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in northwestern America east to Mackenzie River 
and south to Alberta and British Columbia. Winters on Pacific Coast from Van- 
couver Island south. In Oregon: Winter resident from August to April, chiefly in 
coast counties and along Columbia River. 

THE SHORT-BILLED GULL is a regular and sometimes abundant winter 
visitor to the Oregon coast, where it can easily be confused with the 
somewhat larger Ring-billed Gull. It has a noticeably smaller and weaker 
bill than the latter, however, and is appreciably smaller. It appears on 
the coast in August usually, although we have one record from Newport 
Bay on July 2.2,. It becomes more common by October and at times during 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [ 2.95 ] 

the winter is one of the abundant species present on the seashore, which 
it frequents from the mouth of the Columbia River to the California line. 
At times it is exceedingly abundant also on the Columbia as far inland 
as Portland, where it rests in little fleets on the golf courses and public 
parks near the Willamette River. The grounds of the Benson Polytechnic 
School are a favorite resort when the birds are in the harbor, and hundreds 
of them are present there at times. Occasionally, the species wanders 
inland in other parts of the State, but so far as we know there are no 
authentic records of it east of the Cascades. Prill reported taking three 
specimens near Scio, September 2.1, 1900, and Gabrielson shot two out 
of a mixed flock of gulls, on Diamond Lake, September 16, 192.7. Except 
for these, our own records are confined to the coast counties and the 
Columbia River. The birds remain in abundance well into March and 
then diminish in numbers rapidly. Our latest date is April 10 (Clatsop 

These small gulls are beach scavengers in Oregon, as are most of the 
other wintering gulls, although they feed on insects and small crustaceans 
to a greater extent than do some of the larger species. The two Diamond 
Lake birds collected by Gabrielson were crammed with insects picked 
from the surface of the water. The great bulk of the food of one of them 
had been ants, more than 500 of which were counted in one full stomach. 
A strong offshore breeze had blown the insects onto the lake to perish, 
and in one bay their bodies were so thick as to form almost a solid film 
on the surface. The gulls, numerous little Eared Grebes, and other water- 
fowl were gobbling them up eagerly in competition with the little trout 
that had just been released by State Game Commission employees. As 
these little trout broke water, it appeared from the shore that they were 
being eaten by the gulls, and the two gulls were collected to satisfy the 
game warden and Gabrielson as to what was actually happening. A 
specimen collected January 2.4, 192.1, at Netarts by Alex Walker contained 
quite a collection of insects, largely beetles, some of which indicated the 
presence of carrion in the stomach. As none of the feeding habits of this 
little gull are inimical to man and as it acts as a scavenger, its protection 
while in the territory is fully justified. 

Bonaparte's Gull: 

Lams Philadelphia (Ord) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults in summer: Bill and head black ; mantle delicate pearl gray; 
three outer quills chiefly white, outer web of the first, and terminal portion of all, 
black; tail and under parts white; feet orange red. Adults in winter: head white, 
tinged with gray behind and with a dusky spot on ear coverts; feet pale flesh color. 
Young: top of head, back, and spot on ear coverts dusky; sides of head, neck, and 
under parts white, including tail coverts and base of tail; band across end of tail 
blackish, feathers tipped with white." (Bailey) Downy young: Little known, but 


described by Dr. Jonathan Dwight (1901) as "much like that of Sterna hirundo, 
yellowish with dusky mottling above." (Bent) Si%e: "Length iz-14, wing io.z5, 
bill 1.2.0." (Bailey) Nest: In trees, 4 to zo feet from ground, built of twigs, lined 
more or less with grass and mosses. Eggs: 2. to 4, ground color brown or dark buff, 
spotted and blotched with various shades of brown and drab. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in timbered regions of northern Canada and Alaska. 
Winters on both coasts, on Pacific Coast from Gray's Harbor, Washington, south- 
ward to Peru. In Oregon: Common but erratic migrant on coast and in great alkaline 
marshes in Lake (Goose, Crump, and Guano Lakes) and Klamath (numerous 
records) Counties. 

BEAUTIFUL LITTLE Bonaparte's Gull, the smallest and daintiest of the gulls 
known in Oregon, is one of the most graceful of birds, and nothing more 
attractive is to be seen along the coast than a huge flight of these little 
gulls. The slow, leisurely, effortless beat of the bird's wings carries 
it along at a surprising speed as it travels up and down the coast or 
through the interior of the State in its migratory flights. In the spring 
its black head and beautifully tinted rosy breast set it apart from all 
other species of gulls found in the State. It is likely to be seen in any 
part of Oregon but is more frequently found on the alkaline lakes of the 
interior or on the more open bays and estuaries, where it flies aimlessly 
and leisurely about in a ternlike flight, picking up insects or small marine 
forms of life from the surface of the water. 

Newberry (1857) first recorded this tiny gull from Oregon, and Bendire 
(Brewer 1875) found it abundant at Harney Lake. Since then it has been 
reported frequently. It is more regular as a fall migrant on the coast 
from August to December (August zo to December 2.8, both Tillamook 
County) but appears also from April to May (April 5 to May z, both 
Tillamook County). In the interior of the State it migrates north in the 
spring from April to May (March 31 to May 15, both Klamath County), 
with occasional stragglers remaining into June (June 13, Klamath County, 
Jewett and Gabrielson). In the fall, it appears in July (July 2.4, Deschutes 
County) and is present until November (November zz, Klamath County, 
latest date). 

The few gulls whose stomachs have been examined fed almost entirely 
on crustaceans and isopods while in the State. In fact, four stomachs 
collected by R. C. Steele on Tillamook Bay, May i, contained practically 
nothing but the small isopod Exosphaeroma oregonensis that resembles the 
common sowbug. One stomach contained 42., one Z48, one 141, and one 
18 of these creatures. A stomach collected in November i9zo at Netarts 
Bay contained bits of fish and an aquatic beetle. Certainly the feeding 
habits of Bonaparte's Gulls in this territory cannot cause any possible 
harm from an economic standpoint, and there is no excuse whatever for 
any persecution of these little gulls like that sometimes carried out by 
sportsmen and fishermen against the larger species. 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [ 197 ] 

Heermann's Gull: 

Larus heermanni Cassin 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Bill bright red with black tip; feet and ring around eye red; 
head and upper neck white; back sooty gray, secondaries tipped with white; pri- 
maries and tail black, tail tipped with white; under parts dark gray. Young: bill 
brownish; body sooty gray, feathers of upper parts bordered with whitish or pale 
buff; or, entire plumage sooty gray except blackish tail and quills." (Bailey) 
Downy young: "The downy young is covered with short, thick down, which on the 
head, throat, breast and flanks is 'pinkish buff' or 'pale pinkish buff,' becoming 
paler toward the belly, which is pure white. The back is grayish white, mottled 
with dusky, and there are a few dusky spots on the top of the head." (Bent) Si^e: 
"Length 17.50-11.00, wing 13.50, bill 1.50." (Bailey) Nest: In some colonies, a 
depression in the ground, with little or no lining; in others, well-built structures of 
weeds, sticks, and grass. Eggs: Pearl gray to blue gray, spotted and blotched with 
lavender and brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds along Mexican Pacific Coast and wanders north as 
far as British Columbia after breeding season. In Oregon: On coast from about July 
to late December in small numbers. Very rare in recent years. 

HEERMANN'S GULL, a beautiful slate-colored bird with a white head, has 
become rather rare on the Oregon coast in the past 10 years. Prior to 
that time there is evidence that it was much more common. Bretherton 
indicated to Woodcock (1902.) that it was a very abundant summer bird 
on Yaquina Bay, outnumbering other species in the late summer and 
early fall. He suspected that it nested there but did not find any positive 
evidence of its breeding. We know it to be a breeding bird of the Mexican 
and Lower California coasts that wanders north after the breeding season, 
arid there is no evidence that it has ever bred in Oregon. It usually appears 
on the coast in July (June 2.2., Curry County, earliest date) and remains 
through the summer and fall. The latest fall record is December 2.8, 
when Alex Walker took a specimen at Netarts Bay. 

In recent years we have the following specimens, all adult birds: One 
in the Jewett collection (No. 3707) taken by Gabrielson on Netarts Bay, 
August 2.4, 19x1, and two in the Gabrielson collection (Nos. 606 and 658) 
taken August 2.1 and November 2.0, 192.1. Alex Walker reported two 
specimens taken December 2.8, 1913, and one taken November 8, 19^1, all 
in Tillamook County, and one taken December 2.8, 1930, while collecting 
for the Cleveland Museum that is now in the collection of that museum. 
Neither of us has taken any specimens in Oregon since that date. Our 
last record of this species on the Oregon coast was a sight record, June 2.2., 
1919. Our observations bear out reports from its nesting grounds and 
from California observers that this beautiful gull is rapidly decreasing in 
numbers on the coast. It is so distinctly marked that it is readily picked 
out from other species present, and we do not believe we could have 
overlooked the presence of many individuals during our visits to the coast. 

The only stomach examined was one taken December 2.8, 1930, by Alex 


Walker that contained a variety of small beetles and a few other insects. 
Undoubtedly many of the insects eaten by these and other gulls in the 
winter are picked up along the streams and bay shores, although some 
of them may well be taken from the cultivated fields, as the gulls habit- 
ually forage over such areas during heavy storms. 

Pacific Kittiwake: 

Rissa tridactyla pollicaris Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION. "Appearance gull-like; hind toe minute, with or without a nail; 
feet and legs black; tarsus shorter than middle toe with claw; bill yellow, with 
greatest depth at base; tail slightly emarginate, or forked. Adults: back and wings 
light bluish gray, five outer primaries tipped with black; rest of plumage pure white. 
Young: like adults, but with black or slaty on back of neck and across ear coverts." 
(Bailey) Downy young: "The newly hatched young is covered with long, soft, 
glossy down, which is white and spotless, but tinged basally with yellowish gray 
and buffy on the back and thighs, and tipped with dusky, giving it a grizzly appear- 
ance, quite unlike other young gulls." (Bent) Size: "Length 16.00-17.70, wing 
iz.2-5, bill 1.40-1.50." (Bailey) Nest: Usually placed on tiny shelves or projections 
on vertical cliffs, composed of grass and mud cemented with mud. Eggs: Usually z, 
gray or buff, spotted with drab or gray. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on coast and islands of North Pacific, Bering Sea, 
and adjacent Arctic Ocean. Winters south along Pacific Coast casually at least to 
northern Lower California. In Oregon: Irregular winter visitor along coast. 

THE PACIFIC KITTIWAKE is an irregular winter visitor to the Oregon coast. 
When in the hand, it can be identified readily by the rudimentary or 
missing hind toe. In the air, its long, pointed wings would be most 
likely to attract attention. In the adult plumage, the solid-black tips of 
the primaries, unbroken by white spots or "mirrors," distinguish it from 
other wintering gulls, and immature birds display a black cape on the 
back of the neck that, among other species present on the Oregon coast, 
is found only in the much smaller Bonaparte's Gull. Observers fortunate 
enough to be on the coast during the winter should keep a sharp watch 
for this beautiful little gull. 

Prill (i89ib) recorded a Pacific Kittiwake from Sweet Home, Linn 
County, on December 16, 1890. This bird, now in the University of 
Oregon, proved on examination to be a Ring-billed Gull. Woodcock 
(1902.) recorded this same bird and also stated that the species was found 
at Yaquina. Jewett (1914^ recorded the first actual specimen a bird 
picked up dead on the beach at Netarts Bay on March 13, 1913, by Murie. 
Alex Walker took the second specimen, also at Netarts, on December 2.5, 
192.0. Since that time, Braly, Jewett, and Gabrielson have found numerous 
dead specimens on the beaches of Lincoln, Tillamook, and Clatsop Coun- 
ties, and Jewett caught a live bird in his hand at Bayocean. These speci- 
mens were taken between December 2.7 and March 13, in i932-~33 and 
1934-35, when the birds were more frequent than usual. 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [ 2.99 ] 

Red-legged Kittiwake: 

Rissa brevirostris (Bruch) 

DESCRIPTION. "Legs and feet bright red (becoming yellowish in dried skins). 
Summer adult: Pure white, the mantle dark bluish gray, or plumbeous; fine inner- 
most quills plumbeous, the inner webs broadly edged with white, the outer tipped 
with the same; five outermost quills black toward ends, the third, fourth, and fifth 
tipped with plumbeous. Winter adult: Similar but hind-neck and auriculars washed 
with plumbeous. Young: Similar to winter adult, but hind-neck crossed by blackish 
band, ear-coverts crossed by a smaller black band, and a suffusion of same in front 
of eye." (Ridgway, 1887.) Si%?-' Length 14.00-15.80, wing 13.00, culmen 1.2.0, 
tarsus 1.2.5. Eg s -' z to 5* olive white, grayish white, or buffy, blotched and spotted 
with brown and lavender gray. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Coast and islands of Bering Sea. In Oregon: Rare straggler, 
known from one record only. 

THE ONLY OREGON record of the Red-legged Kittiwake is of a fresh adult 
female specimen picked up on the beach at Delake, Lincoln County 
(January 2.8, 1933), by C. A. Leichhardt and Gabrielson. The bird had 
been torn open by gulls but was in otherwise perfect condition and is 
now in Gabrielson's collection. This is a species that remains far to the 
northward but that like the other northerners that made up the phenom- 
enal flight of the winter of 1931-33 is capable of moving far to the 
south on occasion. 

Sabine's Gull: 

Xema sabini (Sabine) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill gull-like, tail conspicuously forked, the feathers rounded, not 
narrow and pointed at ends. Adults in summer: head and upper neck dark plumbeous, 
bordered below by a black collar; mantle slaty gray; tail and middle of wing white; 
outer quills black, with inner webs and tips white; under parts white; bill black, 
tipped with yellow. Adults in winter: head and neck white, with dusky on ear 
coverts and back of head. Young: like winter adults, but mantle brownish, feathers 
with buffy or grayish edges; tail with a subterminal black band, white tip and base; 
bill black." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young is dark colored, from 
'ochraceous tawny' to 'tawny olive' on the upper parts and throat, paler on the 
chin, fading off to 'pale pinkish buff' or paler on the belly. The crown and sides 
of the head are distinctly spotted or streaked with black and the rest of the upper 
parts are thickly but indistinctly mottled with 'fuscous black,' the under parts are 
immaculate." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 13-14, wing 10.10-11.15, bill i.oo, tail 4.50- 
5.00, fork .60-1.00 deep." (Bailey) Nest: A few blades of grass and stems, arranged 
about the eggs or in a slight hollow in the ground. Eggs: 2. or 3, brown or olive 
buff, faintly and irregularly spotted blotches with shades of brown. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Arctic Coasts of both hemispheres. Winters, so 
far as known, on coast of Peru. In Oregon: Migrates north along coast in May (one 
record) and south in fall from August to September. 

THE BEAUTIFUL black-headed, fork-tailed Sabine's Gulls (Plate 49, A) are 
undoubtedly more common on the Oregon coast than our records indi- 


cate. They migrate north along the coast in May and south in the fall 
from August (August 30, Lincoln County) to September (September 2.7, 
Tillamook County). As do many migratory water birds, they seem to 
travel well offshore, and unless one goes out to them, only casual strag- 
glers are seen from the shore. In 19x0, from September 19 to 2.7, there 
was a considerable flight of these birds on the Tillamook County coast, 
centered largely at Netarts Bay, during which period both Alex Walker 
and Jewett collected numbers of specimens. Shaw (192.4) recorded one 
taken at Yaquina Bay, September 4, 1904; and Jewett (i92.ib), one taken 
at Netarts, May i, 1916. These are the only shore records we have. 

On August 30, 192.9, the authors and Braly made a trip offshore from 
Newport, Lincoln County, and were on the ocean from 8 a.m. until 5 
p.m., most of the time from 6 to 9 miles out. All day long there was a 
constant flight of Sabine's Gulls headed southward, either single indi- 
viduals or small companies. Many hundreds passed us during the day, 
but no particular effort was made to count individuals. Anyone who has 
ever seen this exceedingly graceful little gull with the distinctive white 
marks on the edges of its wings will not confuse it with any other species, 
and we enjoyed to the utmost our experience in watching them by the 
hundreds. It is evident that we struck the major southward flight of this 
beautiful bird, as we have been offshore a number of times since and 
have never been fortunate enough to repeat the experience. 

The food of two birds collected by Alex Walker in Tillamook County 
in 192.0, one at Sand Lake and the other at Netarts, consisted entirely of 
insects weevils, carabid beetles, ants, and a few miscellaneous ones. These 
gulls are so rare in Oregon that their choice of food while in the State 
cannot possibly be of any economic consideration. 

Forster's Tern: 

Sterna forsteri Nuttall 

DESCRIPTION. Outer web of outer tail feathers white, inner web dusky; tail very 
narrow and long. "Adults in summer: under parts white; upper parts light pearl 
gray, top of head black; outer web of outer tail feather white; feet orange red, bill 
dull orange, dusky at tip. Adults in winter: top of head white, back of head tinged 
with gray, a dusky stripe around eye and across ear coverts; bill and feet duller 
colored. Young: upper parts, crown, and sides of head washed with brownish; tail 
feathers dusky toward ends." (Adapted from Bailey.) Downy young: "The downy 
young is quite different from that of the common tern. The upper parts vary from 
light 'clay color,' through 'cinnamon buff" to 'pinkish buff,' shading off to paler 
shades of the same color below, paling on the breast and belly almost to white, and 
darkest on the throat, which is 'wood brown' or 'drab' in some specimens, but 
never so dark as in the common tern. The upper parts are heavily spotted or 
streaked with black or 'blackish brown,' less heavily on the head and more heavily 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [ 301 

v ' " i 

Plate 49, A. Sabine's Gull. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 

Plate 49, B. Forster's Tern on nest. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 


on the back, where these markings are confluent into great blotches or longitudinal 
bands." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 14-15, wing 9.50-10.30, bill 1.50-1.65, tail 5.00- 
7.70, forked for 2.. 30-5.00." (Bailey) Nest: In Oregon and other western States, a 
floating mass of decaying cattails or tules, the eggs being deposited in a neat depres- 
sion above the water (Plate 49, B). Eggs: 2. to 6, usually 3 or 4. Ground color 
olive to buff, marked and spotted with dark browns. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds throughout temperate North America, from Alberta 
and Manitoba south to Gulf coast and west to central Oregon and California. 
Winters from southern California and Gulf coast southward. In Oregon: Breeds in 
Klamath (Klamath Lake), Lake (Warner and Summer Lakes), and Harney (Mal- 
heur Lake) Counties in great shallow alkaline lakes and marshes. Arrives in April 
and remains until October. 

FORSTER'S TERN is the most common Oregon representative of the medium- 
sized terns of swallowlike flight, black cap, and forked tail. It unques- 
tionably ranks with the most beautiful and graceful of all birds in flight, 
during \vhich it displays not only beauty of action but beauty of form 
and color as well. The soft pearl gray of its back and the jet black of 
its head in the breeding plumage contrast beautifully with the snowy 
whiteness of the remainder of its body (Plate 49, 5). To observe these 
beautiful birds at their best, one must again go to the great alkaline 
marshes of interior Oregon, where they may be seen winging their way 
over the marshes or waterways, wheeling, turning, darting, or hovering 
a moment before diving headlong into the water after some luckless 
minnow. They are fairly common summer resident and breeding birds of 
Harney, Lake, and Klamath Counties from the middle of April (April 
14, Klamath County) until some time in October (latest date, October 14, 
Harney County), but are seen in other parts of the State only as stragglers 
or in migration. When their nesting colonies are invaded, they will dart 
and dive at the intruder, uttering raucous cries as they fly, displaying 
great bravery and determination in their attempts to drive the intruder 
away. Eggs are laid in May or early June. Our earliest date is May 6; 
our latest, June n. 

The food of this tern consists almost entirely of small fish, principally 
of the top-minnow type, and water insects. Two stomachs taken in May 
192.3 from Warner Lakes were examined. One contained two Leuciscus, a 
small minnow; and the other, one Mylocheilus caurinus. A September 
stomach from Klamath Falls contained only fragments of fish bones. As 
do most fish-eating birds, this tern almost invariably swallows a fish 
head first to facilitate its passage down the throat. Digestion is extremely 
rapid, as it is in many other water birds, and the fish's head may be 
entirely dissolved in the tern's stomach while the tail is still intact in 
the throat. The birds certainly do no harm to any economic interests in 
the State by their food habits, and they add a most attractive feature to 
central Oregon landscape. 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [ 303 ] 

Common Tern: 

Sterna hinmdo hirundo Linnaeus 

DESCRIPTION. "Outer web of outer tail feather dusky, inner web white. Adults in 
summer: bill and feet bright orange red, the bill tipped with black; top of head 
black; mantle light pearl gray; tail and its coverts mainly white; throat white, 
breast light gray. Adults in winter: crown mainly white; under parts pure white; bill 
and feet duller. Young: marked with blackish around eyes and on back of head; 
forehead and under parts white; back light gray with buffy edgings to feathers and 
dusky spots on wings; bill and feet brownish or pale reddish." (Bailey) Downy 
young: "The commonest type is 'cream buff,' 'ochraceous buff,' or 'clay colored' 
above, irregularly mottled with 'sepia' or 'seal brown'; the throat is sometimes 
'smoke gray" but more often 'drab' or 'sepia'; and the under parts are pure white." 
(Bent) Si%e: "Length 13-16, wing 9.75-11.75, bill 1.2.5-1.50, tail 5-7, forked for 
about 3.50." (Bailey) Nest: Often merely a slight hollow in the sand, though some- 
times lined with bits of vegetation. Eggs: 3 or 4, ground color buff or brown, quite 
heavily spotted or blotched with darker browns. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Gulf coast and in Old World and from Nova 
Scotia south to North Carolina on the east coast and northwest to Great Slave Lake 
south to Minnesota, North Dakota, and Alberta. Winters in South America in our 
hemisphere. In Oregon: Rare straggler. Listed on basis of two specimens. 

THE COMMON TERN can be distinguished from the much more abundant 
Forster's Tern only by careful examination of the bird in hand, when the 
difference in the color of the tail feathers, as indicated in the description, 
will classify the birds. It is one of the most widely distributed North 
American water birds but gains a place in the Oregon list on the basis of 
two specimens only, both collected by Kalmbach at Ontario, Malheur 
County, in 192.0. On October 3, 192.0, several of these birds were flying 
over the Snake River, and Kalmbach collected one, a female (Gabrielson 
Coll. No. 399). Because of its puzzling appearance, he went back the 
next day and took another specimen (Biol. Surv. Coll. No. 2.72., 3 62.). 
Although these two are the only definite Oregon records, this species 
should be looked for in eastern Oregon in the spring and fall, where there 
is no reason why it should not be a more or less regular migrant, par- 
ticularly along the Snake and Columbia Rivers. It has been reported as 
nesting on some of the sand islands in the Columbia River in Washington 
and should occur in Oregon also in similar situations. On several June 
days we have noted small terns that may well have been this species 
flying over the Columbia near Umatilla but have had no opportunity to 
take specimens. 

Arctic Tern: 

Sterna paradisaea Brunnich 

DESCRIPTION. "Outer web of outer tail feather dusky, rest of tail white. Adults in 
summer: bill carmine, feet vermilion, bill without black tip; top of head black, 
bordered by white superciliary; body clear deep gray. Adults in winter: under parts 


white, or tinged with grayish; forehead white, rest of crown streaked with black. 
Young: similar to young of hirundo, but with breast and throat washed with dull 
brownish." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young of the Arctic Tern may be 
distinguished from that of any other American tern by the black or dusky frontal 
space, which includes the lores and extends across the base of the bill. This dark 
area matches in color the dark-colored throat, which varies from 'dusky drab' to 
nearly black. The breast is pure white, becoming more grayish posteriorly. The 
upper parts show at least two distinct color phases, both of which are sometimes 
found in one brood. In the brown phase the head, back, and wings, vary from 
'cinnamon' to 'pinkish buff.' In the gray phase these parts are 'pale drab gray' or 
'pale smoke gray,' shading off gradually into the white or paler color of the under 
parts. In both phases the head is distinctly spotted and the back is heavily mottled 
or variegated with 'fuscous' or black; the markings are usually blacker in the 
brown phase than in the gray." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 14-17, wing 10.00-10.75, 
bill 1.08-1.40, tail 6.50-8.50, forked for 4-5." (Bailey) Nest: Generally a depression 
in sand, gravel, or moss, sometimes lined with a few bits of grass. Eggs: z or 3, 
ground color from olive to dark brown, more or less spotted and blotched with 
black and brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Circumpolar, south on Atlantic Coast to Massachusetts and 
to southern Quebec, Great Slave Lake, and on Pacific side to Commander and 
Aleutian Islands and north far into Arctic. Winters in Antarctic Ocean. In Oregon: 
Casual visitor to coast, probably passing offshore in its southward migration. 

THE ARCTIC TERN, another of the beautiful fork-tailed, medium-sized 
terns, migrates more or less regularly up and down the Oregon coast, as 
it is reported regularly from north and south of this territory. It must 
pass by offshore as a usual thing, and such records as we have from the 
coast are of casual birds that come in closer. There is a specimen in the 
University of Oregon collection from Lane County, and Jewett has one 
in his collection (No. 4349) that was found dead on the beach in Tilla- 
mook County, August 2.0, 1916. These are the only two Oregon specimens 
that we know of. There is one record for Multnomah County made by 
Jewett in August 19021 of a flock of about 40 seen flying over a small 
island on Government Lake and reported in the Birds of the Portland Area 
(Jewett and Gabrielson 192.9). Gabrielson, Jewett, and Braly saw a 
number of birds that were undoubtedly this species off Newport on 
August 30, 192.9, and Gabrielson saw five or six birds in the mouth of 
the Columbia River on September 2.9, 1930. These few and scattered 
records undoubtedly are only indications of the presence of these birds 
that must sometimes occur on the coast in greater numbers and would 
be seen more frequently if there were more observers present on the 
coastal bays. 

Caspian Tern: 

Hydroprogne caspia imperator (Coues) 

DESCRIPTION. "Tail not very deeply forked, the outer feathers pointed, but not 
much narrowed; bill red, feet black. Breeding plumage: crown and back of head black- 
mantle light gray; wings darker gray, the outer quills tipped with black," remainder 

GULLS AND TERNS: Family Laridae [ 305 ] 

of plumage pure white. "Winter plumage: black of head streaked with white. 
Young: crown grayish, mixed with black posteriorly; back and tail feathers with 
dusky spots." (Adapted from Bailey.) Downy young: "The downy young varies on 
the upper parts from dark grayish buff or 'vinaceous buff' to 'cartridge buff' or pale 
grayish white. The throat is very pale dusky and the remainder of the under parts 
are white. There are sometimes no dark markings, but usually the upper parts are 
more or less heavily spotted or mottled with dusky." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 19.00- 
2.Z-50, wing 15.00-17.40, bill 2.. 48-3.10, tail 5.30-6.75, forked for .75-1.60." (Bailey) 
Nest: Usually a small depression lined with a few bits of broken vegetation. Eggs: 
-L to 4, much like gull eggs, buff ground color, sparingly marked and blotched with 
various shades of brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in widely scattered locations over most of North 
America. Winters from South Carolina and San Francisco Bay southward. In 
Oregon: Summer resident and breeder in Klamath, Lake, and Harney Counties, where 
it is present from April to October. 

THE CASPIAN TERN is not only the largest but also the most spectacular 
of the terns that have come into Oregon. It is swift and beautiful in 
flight and exceedingly graceful, but it is more gull-like than the smaller 
terns. To see this beautiful big bird in life in the State, one must go to 
the great shallow lakes and marshes of south-central Oregon where it is 
resident from April (April 17, Klamath County) until about October i 
(October 9, Harney County). There are breeding colonies (Plate 50) in 
Klamath County, usually at Spring Lake, in Lake County, at Summer and 
Warner Lakes, and in Harney County, in the vicinity of Malheur Lake. 

The terns usually nest in companies with the California and Ring-billed 
Gulls and keep their eggs together in one spot. Egg dates vary from May 
12. to June 16 in the various colonies in different seasons. Single sets can 
be found earlier, but the dates given represent numerous sets in each 
colony. An intruder in one of these mixed colonies becomes the center 
of a screaming mass of birds, and in their anxiety for their eggs and 
young, the Caspians are much fiercer in their attacks than the gulls. 
Frequently they come at the intruder from high in the air, dive upon him, 
screaming at the top of their voices, and turn aside only at the last 
possible moment, when a collision with the object of their wrath seems 

The Caspian Tern is not as abundant in Oregon as it was a few years 
ago. Undoubtedly the decrease in numbers has been due to drought and 
drainage rather than to persecution by man. The great summer colonies 
first reported by Finley (^oya) in 1905 in Lower Klamath Lake have 
disappeared with the draining of that lake, and in late years the only 
colony remaining in Klamath County has usually been at Spring Lake 
and has contained from 2.0 to 50 pairs. The colonies on Malheur Lake 
have also diminished in numbers. It is hoped that this royal bird will 
be present in Oregon always and that with the development of bird sanc- 
tuaries and more breeding areas for water birds in the State it will again 
increase in numbers to its former abundance. 

[ 3 o8] 


AUKS, MURRES, AND PUFFINS: Family Alcidae [ 309 ] 

the smaller swampy lakes scattered throughout those counties and others. 
They are likely to be seen anywhere in eastern Oregon not only in the 
spring migration in April or early May, at which time they are in the 
black breeding plumage, but also after the breeding season in August 
and September when they wander away from their nesting grounds. At 
that time they still retain the pearl-gray wings, but the body is white 
with more or less of the black about the head and eyes still in evidence. 
In any plumage, this is a dainty, lovable inhabitant of the marshes. It 
has something of the swallow about it, darting, twisting, and turning 
about the tops of the tules, from which it expertly picks the insects that 
form a large part of its food. Few people can watch it without getting 
a thrill as it winnows the marshes on graceful wings. It is such an expert 
on the wing and performs so easily that it is most impressive. 

The Black Terns do not congregate in nesting colonies as do other terns 
in the State, although there may be many pairs in the same swamp. They 
are exceedingly brave in defense of their nests, diving squarely in the 
face of an intruder, screaming all the while at the tops of their voices. 
The eggs are usually laid on a mass of floating vegetable matter, with 
little or no attempt at nest building, or even on floating boards, although 
sometimes there is more effort at nest construction. Dates on which we 
have found fresh eggs vary from May 2.0 to June 2.0. 

The food of these small terns consists generally of water insects or 
their larvae, sometimes small crayfish, and perhaps fish. The stomach 
contents of three birds collected in Warner Valley, May 11, 19x3, by Prill 
and examined by the Biological Survey all contained insects and either 
nymphs or larvae of aquatic insects. Many of the insects and nymphs 
are picked from the tule and reed stems as the terns flash by on the wing, 
a practice in which they are so expert that only the performance of the 
swallows in drinking while on the wing, can compare with it. These 
beautiful little birds certainly do no harm in their feeding habits; in fact 
such economic value as they may have is certainly on the favorable side, 
although the insects on which they habitually feed usually have no 
economic significance. 

Auks, Murres, and Puffins: Family Alcidae 

California Murre: 

Una aalge calif ornica (Bryant) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill narrow and slender, nostril concealed in feathers; a deep 
groove in feathers back of eye. Breeding -plumage: upper parts slaty or blackish, 
secondaries tipped with white; sides of head, neck, and throat velvety sooty brown; 
under parts pure white. Winter plumage: sides of head, neck, throat, and under parts 
pure white; a dusky stripe back of eye. Young: like winter adults, but with white 

[ 3 o8] 


AUKS, MURRES, AND PUFFINS: Family Alridae [ 309 ] 

the smaller swampy lakes scattered throughout those counties and others. 
They are likely to be seen anywhere in eastern Oregon not only in the 
spring migration in April or early May, at which time they are in the 
black breeding plumage, but also after the breeding season in August 
and September when they wander away from their nesting grounds. At 
that time they still retain the pearl-gray wings, but the body is white 
with more or less of the black about the head and eyes still in evidence. 
In any plumage, this is a dainty, lovable inhabitant of the marshes. It 
has something of the swallow about it, darting, twisting, and turning 
about the tops of the tules, from which it expertly picks the insects that 
form a large part of its food. Few people can watch it without getting 
a thrill as it winnows the marshes on graceful wings. It is such an expert 
on the wing and performs so easily that it is most impressive. 

The Black Terns do not congregate in nesting colonies as do other terns 
in the State, although there may be many pairs in the same swamp. They 
are exceedingly brave in defense of their nests, diving squarely in the 
face of an intruder, screaming all the while at the tops of their voices. 
The eggs are usually laid on a mass of floating vegetable matter, with 
little or no attempt at nest building, or even on floating boards, although 
sometimes there is more effort at nest construction. Dates on which we 
have found fresh eggs vary from May 2.0 to June 2.0. 

The food of these small terns consists generally of water insects or 
their larvae, sometimes small crayfish, and perhaps fish. The stomach 
contents of three birds collected in Warner Valley, May 2.1, 192.3, by Prill 
and examined by the Biological Survey all contained insects and either 
nymphs or larvae of aquatic insects. Many of the insects and nymphs 
are picked from the tule and reed stems as the terns flash by on the wing, 
a practice in which they are so expert that only the performance of the 
swallows in drinking while on the wing, can compare with it. These 
beautiful little birds certainly do no harm in their feeding habits; in fact 
such economic value as they may have is certainly on the favorable side, 
although the insects on which they habitually feed usually have no 
economic significance. 

Auks, Murres, and Puffins: Family Alcidae 

California Murre: 

Uria aalge calif ornica (Bryant) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill narrow and slender, nostril concealed in feathers ; a deep 
groove in feathers back of eye. Breeding plumage: upper parts slaty or blackish, 
secondaries tipped with white; sides of head, neck, and throat velvety sooty brown; 
under parts pure white. Winter plumage: sides of head, neck, throat, and under parts 
pure white; a dusky stripe back of eye. Young: like winter adults, but with white 



AUKS, MURRES, AND PUFFINS: Family Alcidae [311] 

more restricted on sides of head and lower throat faintly mottled with dusky." 
(Bailey) (See Plate 53, B.) Downy young: "When first hatched the young murre 
is covered with short down which varies from 'bone brown' to 'hair brown' above, 
almost black on the head and neck, except that the throat is mottled with white; 
the under parts are white; the head and neck are sparsely covered with long, hair- 
like filaments, grayish white or bufTy white in color., giving the bird a coarse hairy 
appearance." (Bent's description of the young of murre, U. ttoille troille, which is, 
in this plumage, indistinguishable from the California Murre.) Si%e: Length 17, 
wing 8.30, bill 1.86. Nest: None, single egg laid on bare, rocky ledge. Egg: i, 
almost endlessly variable in color and markings, ground color pure white to light 
blues and greens, sometimes without spots, but usually beautifully speckled, 
scrawled, or blotched with various shades of brown or black. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Santa Barbara, California, north to Pribilofs 
and westward through Aleutians to Asiatic coast. Winters from Aleutians south- 
ward. In Oregon: Abundant year-around resident of coast, breeding on every suitable 
island and rocky headland. 

THE CALIFORNIA MURRE is undoubtedly the most abundant seafowl of the 
Oregon coast and next to the American Coot the most abundant breeding 
water bird in the State. It remains on the coast throughout the year but 
is less common in winter than in summer. It frequents the rocky head- 
lands, more particularly the high offshore rocks, where it lays its single 
egg on a bare, rocky ledge, usually in early June, and where the incu- 
bating birds stand in soldierly rows in almost unbelievable numbers 
(Plate 52.). By August, the young are able to leave their rocky ledges 
and take to the water. During the latter part of July and August, the 
ocean near shore is covered with California Murres, each young bird in 
the company of an adult that it follows about begging for food (Plate 53). 

Despite its abundance we can find no earlier published reference to it 
as an Oregon bird than that of Finley (1902.). His writings and those of 
Bohlman many years ago made nationally famous the immense bird 
colonies on Three Arch Rocks off the Tillamook coast. Probably no one 
knows how many hundreds of thousands of birds nest on this reserva- 
tion, but the murres make up the largest single element in the bird 
population, flying about the rocks like a giant swarm of bees. Although 
Three Arch Rocks is the most famous Oregon colony, it is by no means 
the only one, as other offshore rocks with suitable ledges and nesting 
places have their quota of these birds. 

Their food in general consists of a great variety of marine life small 
fish, worms, and other invertebrates but we have no definite data on 
their food habits in Oregon. 

Pigeon Guillemot: 

Cepphus columba Pallas 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill black, straight, and slender, upper edge of nostril feathered; 
feet bright red in summer, pink in winter. Breeding plumage: black, except for large 



AUKS, MURRES, AND PUFFINS: Family Alcidae [313] 

white patch on base of wing which half incloses a black triangle. Winter plumage: 
wings and tail as in summer, rest of plumage mainly white, varied above and some- 
times below with black. Young: similar to winter adults, but white of wings ob- 
scured by dusky, tips of quills marked with white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The 
young guillemot is hatched with a complete covering of soft, thick down, 'fuscous 
black' above, shading into 'clove brown' below." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 13-14, 
wing 6.90-7.30, bill 1.10-1.40." (Bailey) Nest: A crevice or cranny of the rocks, 
where the eggs are laid on the bare rock. Eggs: 2., pale greenish white, bluish 
white, or pure white, usually heavily spotted and blotched with dark brown or black. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Pacific Coast from southern California through 
Aleutians to Bering Strait. Winters from Aleutians southward. In Oregon: Breeds 
on nearly every suitable rocky headland along coast, being particularly abundant in 
Lincoln, Tillamook, Coos, and Curry Counties, where there are many available 
sites. Becomes common in April and remains until October in numbers. Winters 

THE BRIGHT-RED FEET, jet-black plumage, and conspicuous white wing 
patches of the Pigeon Guillemot make it one of the most striking and 
easily recognized summer birds of the Oregon coast, where it is one of 
the prominent features of the bird life and may be seen flying in and out 
of crevices in precipitous headlands or feeding offshore among the myriads 
of sea birds that gather during the anchovy runs. Its flight is very rapid 
and strong, and its swimming and diving like that of its relatives 
expert. It was first mentioned as an Oregon bird by Townsend (1839). 
Prill (1901) found it breeding at Otter Rock, Woodcock (1902.) listed it 
from Yaquina Bay, and Finley (1902.) found it on Three Arch Rocks. 
Since then little has been written about it. 

It breeds on practically every rocky Oregon headland suitable for the 
purpose from the mouth of Pistol River north to the Columbia, but is 
particularly abundant in Lincoln, Tillamook, Coos, and Curry Counties, 
where it becomes common in April (April iz, Tillamook County). The 
species nests abundantly on the headlands adjacent to the Three Arch 
Rocks, Tillamook County, where it lays its eggs rather late in the season. 
Our only egg records are from July 2. to 6. The guillemots in this colony 
are usually busily engaged in feeding young in August after all the other 
sea birds have left their rocky homes and are to be found scattered over 
the surface of the ocean. There is also a particularly fine colony in the 
seal caves on Heceta Head, Lincoln County, where in the dark crevices 
and crannies of this huge water-worn cavern at least 100 pairs of birds 
breed. A visit to this cave on August 4, 1932., showed guillemots feeding 
just offshore on a huge run of small fish and making frequent direct 
flights between this school offish and their noisy young in the cave. The 
birds remain in numbers until October (October 10, Coos County). 
Winter records so far are few, but the species undoubtedly occurs in small 
numbers off the Oregon coast throughout the year. Gabrielson saw 10 
scattered birds on Yaquina Bay during a heavy storm on February 7, 1919. 


We have no definite records regarding food of this species in Oregon 
except that it is found commonly feeding on the great schools of small 
fish that abound on the coast. 

Marbled Murrelet: 

Brachyramphus marmoratus (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. Breeding plumage: "Upper parts dusky, back and sides barred with 
deep rusty brown; under parts white, mottled with sooty brown. Winter plumage: 
upper parts slaty, with white band on back of neck; scapulars mixed with white; 
feathers of back tipped with plumbeous; flanks with dark gray stripes. Young: 
upper parts dusky, collar and scapular spots indistinct; under parts white, mottled, 
or speckled with sooty. Length: 9.50-10.00, wing 5, bill .60-. 70." (Bailey) Downy 
young and nest: Unknown. Eggs: One egg taken by Cantwell from body of a bird is 
pale yellow, thickly spotted with dark brown to black. 

DISTRIBUTION.- General: Summer range, coast of central Oregon northward to 
Aleutian Islands. Winters from British Columbia southward to central California 
(Monterey Bay and Santa Barbara). In Oregon: Regular summer resident of coast of 
Lincoln, Lane, and Tillamook Counties. Found throughout year in coastal waters. 

THE HOME LIFE of the Marbled Murrelet is still one of the unsolved 
mysteries of ornithology. When and where this small bird nests and 
rears its young is still its secret, but it is assumed that it nests either in 
the timber or on the bald hills facing the Coast Ranges from Oregon 
northward. A number of years ago, in May, in the Prince of Wales 
Archipelago, George Cantwell took a nearly perfect egg from a bird he 
had shot. There is also a single egg in the J. H. Bowles collection, 
probably this species, that was taken in Alaska by Stanton Warburton. 
Woodcock (1901) first listed the species for Oregon from Yaquina Bay, 
which is still one of its centers of abundance. It is a regular summer 
resident of the coast, particularly in Lincoln, Tillamook, and Lane Coun- 
ties, and is found in winter in the same general territory, but no one has 
yet found its nest or eggs in Oregon, although Jewett (ic^d) recorded 
one newly hatched downy young bird caught by Stanley Jewett, Jr., on 
September 4, 1933, in the dense woods back of Devils Lake, Lincoln 
County. It is much the youngest bird of the species the authors have 
seen. It was not able to fly and presumably was at or near the nest site. The 
authors have also seen a specimen just out of the down that A. B. Johnson 
picked up near Minerva, Lane County, on September 8, 1918, and gave 
to Overton Dowell, Jr., that is undoubtedly a young Marbled Murrelet. 
Alex Walker collected several young birds at Pacific City in the summer 
of 1931, and the authors have numerous immature specimens taken off 
Depoe Bay during the summers of 1933 and 1934. 

Marbled Murrelets are rather shy and difficult to approach, and when 
they are on the water considerable maneuvering on the part of the col- 
lector is usually required before specimens can be taken. Ordinarily this 

AUKS, MURRES, AND PUFFINS: Family Alcidae [315] 

little diver is found in the mouths of bays and in the ocean just offshore, 
where its expertness in the water is a marvelous sight. Gabrielson has 
had numerous opportunities to watch these birds working about the 
docks on Puget Sound. As they dive beneath the surface, the wings are 
spread out and used exactly as a pair of oars to drive the birds through 
the water. The feet are also used, at least part of the time. The birds 
actually fly under the surface, sometimes emerging from the water in full 
flight. The flight is strong and direct. 

Very little is known about the food of this species in Oregon waters, 
but it undoubtedly consists of small marine life of the same general type 
as that eaten by its near relatives. 

Ancient Murrelet: 

SynMiboramfhus antiquus (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill small and short, nostrils exposed; front of tarsus covered with 
transverse scutellae. Breeding plumage: head and neck black, with large white patch 
on side of the neck, a wide stripe of white filaments along back edge of crown, and 
scattered white filaments over back of neck; back slaty; sides black; under parts 
white. Winter plumage: throat white; head and back without white filaments; sides 
gray." (Bailey) Downy young: In the downy young the upper parts are of jet black, 
including the back, wings, crown, and sides of the head to a point below the eye; 
there is a whitish auricular patch in the black area back of the ear; the occiput and 
the whole dorsal region seems to be clouded with bluish gray, due to a subterminal 
portion of each filament being so colored; the under parts are pure white, slightly 
tinged with yellowish." (Bent) Si%e: "Length 9.50-10.80, wing ^.-L^-^.^O, bill 
.60." (Bailey) Nest: An abandoned burrow of Cassin's Auklet, a crevice in the 
rocks, or a burrow under a tussock of grass. Eggs: 2., deep buff, spotted and marked 
with light brown and lavender of various shades. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on coast and islands of north Pacific, from northern 
Japan and Queen Charlotte Islands northward to Aleutians. Winters southward to 
southern California and Japan. In Oregon: Winter visitor to coast. 

THE ANCIENT MURRELET is another of the northern nesting Alcidae that 
is fairly rare on the Oregon coast. Our only records are of birds found 
dead or dying on the beaches of Clatsop, Tillamook, and Lincoln Coun- 
ties, mostly in the winter months. Jewett has four winter skins from 
Netarts Bay in his collection (December 2.8 and 31, 1912.; December 30, 
19x8; and December 14, 1933) and one from Delake (January 14, 1933). 
He has one skin from Neskowin as early as August 12., 192.8, and a spring 
specimen from Netarts Bay as late as April 2.8, 1915. In the winter of 
1931-33 Ancient Murrelets died by the dozens along the Oregon coast, 
and every collector who visited the coast obtained a number of these 
somewhat erratic visitors. Gabrielson caught several alive that were 
exhausted and emaciated on December 2.7 to 2.8, 1932., and more birds 
were picked up at intervals well into February. Prior to this visitation 
its appearance had been that of a straggler, of which a specimen was 
occasionally taken. 


Cassin's Auklet: 

Ptychoramfhus aleuticus (Pallas) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill broader than deep at base; upper outline nearly straight. 
Upper parts slaty black; sides of head, neck, and throat plumbeous; spot on lower 
eyelid, and under parts white." (Bailey) Downy young: "The downy young is 
'blackish brown* or 'fuscous black' when first hatched, fading to 'fuscous' or 'hair 
brown' when older, on the upper parts; the throat, breast, and flanks are paler; and 
the belly is 'ecru drab,' 'drab gray,' or 'drab.' " (Bent) Si%e: "Length 8.00-9.50, 
wing 4.75-5 .2.5 , bill .75 . " (Bailey) Nest: A burrow from one to several feet in length 
or a natural cavity or crevice on rocky islands off the coast. Egg: i, white, un- 
marked, though often with a greenish-bluish tinge. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on Pacific Coast from Lower California to Aleutian 
Islands. Winters from Puget Sound southward. In Oregon: Found off coast through- 
out year. 

CASSIN'S AUKLET is found throughout the year on the Oregon coast, 
although most of our records are in July and August. Visitors to the 
Oregon coastal waters will have no difficulty in identifying it, as it is 
the smallest of the offshore species regularly found there. It is usually 
found commonly off the mouths of harbors and bays, where it feeds on 
the surface or under water, using both wings and feet during its under- 
water activities. Frequently the birds are seen apparently flying directly 
out of the surface of the water. Despite their plain dresses of gray and 
white, it is rather interesting to watch their absurd, chunky bodies 
bobbing about on the surface. Dead birds are at times washed up on the 
beach during December, January, and February, following heavy offshore 
storms in which these auklets suffer in common with many of the other 
offshore species. Little attention has been paid to the species as an 
Oregon bird, our first record being that of Loomis (1901), who in 1898 
found it abundant off the mouth of the Rogue. It is not otherwise men- 
tioned except in our own notes and publications. There is only one inland 
record. It was taken in Portland and brought to Jewett on October 4, 
19x1 (Jewett Coll. No. 3452.). 

The bird breeds on little rocky islands offshore along the Pacific Coast. 
It apparently is absent on Three Arch Rocks. At least Jewett and Finley 
have been unable to find it there on any of the trips they have made. 
The only definite breeding record we have for the Oregon coast is re- 
ported by Braly (i93oa), who obtained adults and young on June 15, 
1930, on Island Rock just off Port Orford. A careful search of the other 
rocky islands along the Oregon coast would certainly reveal the presence 
of this bird as a breeding species. 

A number of Oregon stomachs collected by Alex Walker at Netarts 
during December and January showed forms of mollusks, bones of small 
fish, pieces of sand dollar, seeds oiCeanothus and Lathyrus, forms of lichens, 
and remains of one Nereis. 

AUKS, MURRES, AND PUFFINS: Family Alcidae [ 3 17 ] 

Paroquet Auklet: 

Cyclorrhynchus psittacula (Pa J las) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill dark red, high, and thin, with sickle-shaped lower mandible 
curved upward. Breeding plumage: throat and upper parts sooty black; under parts 
white; a white line from lower eyelid back over ear ending in a thin white crest. 
Winter plumage and young: throat as well as rest of under parts white." (Bailey) 
Downy young: " 'Fuscous black' on the crown, 'fuscous,' 'benzo brown,' or 'hair 
brown' on the back, sides, throat and breast, and 'pale drab gray' on the belly." 
(Bent) Si%e: "Length 9.00-10.40, wing 5.40-6.00, bill .60." (Bailey) Nest: 
Crevice or cranny in the rocks, egg being laid on bare rock. Egg: i, pure white or 
bluish white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on coasts and islands of Bering Sea. Winters on 
north Pacific south casually to central California. In Oregon: Rare offshore winter 

THE CURIOUS LITTLE Paroquet Auklet, with its upturned bright-red bill and 
tiny white crest, is only an irregular winter visitor to Oregon waters. It 
is seldom seen alive, and all our records are of birds found dead on the 
beaches and preserved. The first specimen taken in the State was found 
dead on the beach at Netarts, January i, 1913, by M. E. Peck and was 
recorded in the Condor by Jewett (191413); the second was obtained at 
Newport, January 2.7, 1914, by Jewett; and the third was found at Netarts, 
January i, 192.1, by Alex Walker. In 1932. and 1933 several more speci- 
mens were found by Jewett and Braly. Jewett has skins in his collection 
taken at Taft (February 2.1, 1932.)* Ddake (February 5, 1933), Sunset 
Beach, Clatsop County (3 skins, February 2.3, 1933), and Gleneden (Feb- 
ruary 2.6, 1933). Our last record consisted of several specimens that were 
too far gone to save, found on Clatsop County beaches January 12., 1935, 
while we were on our last field trip together gathering material for this 

The stomach of the bird found by Walker contained four seeds of Rhus 
(sumac) and one of Lathyrus (a wild perennial pea), but the usual food of 
the species undoubtedly consists of the varied forms of marine life eaten 
by other similar sea birds. 

Rhinoceros Auklet: 

Cerorhinca monocerata (Pallas) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill much compressed, longer than deep; in breeding season base 
of bill surmounted by upright horn. Breeding plumage: upper parts dusky; sides of 
head, throat, and rest of under parts plumbeous, except for whitish belly; side of 
head with two series of white pointed feathers. Winter plumage: breast more uni- 
formly gray; belly purer white; horn absent." (Bailey) Downy young: "Uniform 
sooty grayish brown, very similar to corresponding stages of Lunda cirrhata [Tufted 
Puffin], but rather lighter in color and with more slender bill." (Ridgway, 1887.) 
Si^e: "Length 14-15.50, wing 7.15, bill from front edge of horn i." (Bailey) Nest: 


A burrow, several feet in length, ending in a dome-shaped chamber. Egg: i, dull 

white, often spotless, but usually with faint spots of pale lavender, gray, or light 


DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Destruction Island, Washington, northward 

to southern Alaska, Aleutian Islands, and northern Japan. Winters on open sea 

from Washington coast southward to Lower California. In Oregon: Winter visitor 

all along coast. 

THE FIRST Oregon record for the Rhinoceros Auklet was that of Wood- 
cock (1901) for Yaquina Bay. The only other references to it as an Oregon 
bird are by Finley (ms.) and Jewett (191/^3). Although it is the largest 
auklet found on the Oregon coast, it is one of the least-known Oregon 
sea birds. In life, its short, heavy body and intermediate size distinguish 
it from any other auklet likely to occur. It is noticeably larger than the 
other auklets and murrelets and decidedly smaller than the puffins and 
murres with which it is associated. The chances for a person to see it 
are very limited, however, unless he goes to sea, which, in winter, is a 
rather robust sport off the Oregon coast and one seldom indulged in by 
nature lovers and ornithologists. Although the species is present off the 
coast from August until March we did not meet with it in life in any of 
our offshore trips until Gabrielson and John Carter collected several off 
Depoe Bay, September 10, 1934. Its presence is usually made known by 
the finding of dead birds washed up on the beach. The earliest record of 
this type that we have is of one found at Cape Meares on August 6; the 
latest, March i. Records during August, January, and February are quite 
numerous so that the bird is certainly present in numbers off the shore 
at times. 

Two Oregon stomachs, one taken in August and one in December, 
both nearly empty, contained fragments of small fish bones. This auklet 
is known to feed generally on small crustaceans and fish and cannot be 
regarded as having any effect, detrimental or otherwise, on man's eco- 
nomic interests. 

Horned Puffin: 

Fratercula corniculata (Naumann) 

DESCRIPTION. Adults in breeding season (sexes alike): Top of head uniform grayish 
brown; sides of head white; neck and back, black; throat sooty, changing to 
brownish-gray on the chin; under parts white; bill brilliantly colored with salmon- 
red, yellow, and orange; legs and feet bright red. Winter plumage: Sides of head 
gray, legs and feet pale red, and bill much duller colored in dusky and pale yellow. 
Downy young: Uniform dark sooty grayish brown, the breast and upper abdomen 
rather abruptly white. Nest: A shallow burrow, sometimes lined with a little grass 
or other vegetable matter. Egg: i, ground color dull white or creamy white, with 
some markings of lavender, gray, or olive. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds on coasts and islands of north Pacific from southern 

AUKS, MURRES, AND PUFFINS: Family Alcidae [319] 

Alaska northward. Winters south along coast to Queen Charlotte Islands. In 
Oregon: Found as an irregular winter resident, common only from December 1^2. to 
February 1933. 

THE HORNED PUFFIN, a northern cousin of the common Tufted Puffin, is 
found in Oregon only as a winter straggler. The first specimen was one 
found dead on the beach at Netarts Bay, March 7, 1916, and recorded by 
Jewett (icji^b). It was so badly decomposed that it was possible to save 
only the head, which is now in Jewett's collection. There are also two 
skins in the Overton Dowell, Jr., collection, a male and a female, found 
dead on the beach, 3 miles northwest of Mercer, Lane County, on March 
15, 1919. 

On December 2.7, 1932., Gabrielson found dozens of dead and dying 
birds on the beach north of Netarts. Many, badly oil-soaked and thus 
rendered helpless, drifted in on each high tide. In two days 35 specimens 
were saved. Many dozens more were so badly torn and injured by the 
gulls that no attempt was made to save them. Among this lot were 
many Horned Puffins, Ancient Murrelets, and other species that do not 
normally winter in numbers on our coast. Two days later Jewett was on 
the beaches a few miles north and had the same experience. From that 
time until mid-February every bird observer who visited the beaches 
reported the same condition. 

Curiously enough, Tufted Puffins remained through the winter in far 
greater numbers than usual. We can find nothing in weather conditions 
on the Oregon coast or in Alaskan waters to account for the visitation 
of puffins, murrelets, auklets, and kittiwakes in numbers far exceeding 
anything we had previously known. The only logical explanation that 
comes readily to mind is a change in food conditions. A marked decrease 
in the normal supplies in northern waters and a comparative abundance 
on the Oregon coast would logically explain both the southward move- 
ment of northern birds and the unusual abundance of Tufted Puffins and 
other resident birds. We have no evidence, however, to substantiate 
this surmise. 

Tufted Puffin: 

Lunda cirrhata (Pallas) 

DESCRIPTION. "Bill compressed, nearly as high as long. Adults: upper parts sooty 
black; under parts dark grayish. Breeding flumage: sides of face white, a long crest 
of fine silky yellow feathers over each eye; terminal half of bill, and feet, bright red. 
Winter plumage: sides of head dusky, and without crests; horny covering of base of 
bill replaced by soft dusky brown skin; feet flesh color. Young in first winter: similar 
to winter adult, but with rudiments of light brown crests, and sides of upper 
mandible without grooves." (Bailey) Downy young: "Completely covered with 
long, soft, silky down, sooty black above and sooty grayish below." (Bent) (See 


Plate 54, A. Downy young Tufted Puffin. (Photo by Reed 

Plate 54, B. Close-up of a Tufted Puffin. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

AUKS.. MURRES, AND PUFFINS: Family Alcidae [ 3x1 ] 

Plate 54, A.~) Si^e: "Length 14.40-15.60, wing 7.75, bill 1.30-1.45." (Bailey) 
Nest: A shallow burrow, usually lined with feathers and grass. Egg: i, pale bluish 
white or dull, dirty white, with a few to many spots or scrawls or various shades of 
gray or pale brown. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Coastal islands from California northward to northwestern 
Alaska, and from Japan to northeastern Siberia. In Oregon: Nests on suitable off- 
shore rocks and headlands along entire coast. 

COMPARATIVELY LITTLE has appeared in Oregon literature about the Tufted 
Puffin (Plate 54, 5). Prill (1901) recorded it as breeding at Otter Rock 
in 1889, and Loomis (1901) found it off the mouth of the Rogue River, 
but Finley's (1905^ account of it on Three Arch Rocks gave the first 
adequate published material on this species that is now one of the most 
abundant of the sea birds breeding on the Oregon coast. There, above 
the thunder of the surf, on the steep slopes of offshore rocks or precipitous 
headlands it digs its shallow nesting burrow, lays its single egg, and rears 
its young. It nests, or has recently nested, to our knowledge, on the 
rocks at the mouth of Pistol River, Island Rock near Port Orford, the 
rocks near Bandon, Heceta Head, Seal Rocks, Yaquina Head, the rocks 
off the mouth of Salmon River, those off the mouth of the Nestucca 
River, Cape Lookout, Cape Meares, and Three Arch Rocks and adjacent 
points on the mainland. Normally, few remain through the winter, but 
from December 1932. to February 1933 many hundreds were present off the 
Tillamook and Lincoln County coasts, where they were associated with 
a great flight of more northern species. 

Tufted Puffins are most curious dumpy little birds. When sitting up 
in front of the nest or on a rocky ledge above the water, their black 
bodies, white plumes, and enormous bright-colored bills give them an air 
of comical gravity found in no other bird. They are quite social, usually 
nesting in colonies of considerable size and frequently fishing together in 
similar groups. During the summer months, they are a conspicuous 
element in the enormous mixed groups of seafowl that follow the move- 
ments of the hordes of anchovies and other small fish along the coast. 
Their flight is quite characteristic, the short, heavy bodies being driven 
at high speed by their comparatively small, blunt wings. It is difficult 
for them to rise off the water in calm weather or to launch themselves 
into the air from the land. This may be one reason for their usual choice 
of nesting sites on steep slopes (Plate 55) from whence they can dive 
downward until sufficient momentum is gained to carry them along. 
When once launched their flight is swift and direct. The birds find it 
difficult, however, to alter the line of travel, either to rise or to turn 
aside, and any such changes in their course are usually made in long 
gradual curves. 

This bird was evidently a staple article of diet of the Oregon coast 
Indians, as it is today with the Aleuts, because puffin bones have been 



Plate 55. Tufted Puffins. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley.) 

AUKS, MURRES, AND PUFFINS: Family Akidae [32.3] 

found abundantly by Jewett in the shell mounds on the Tillamook County 

The Tufted Puffin feeds on small fish and marine life. Few Oregon 
stomachs were available, but several stomachs from other places along 
the coast were full of small fish (Clupea pallaszi~). So far as known these 
odd-appearing little Sea Parrots do no harm to anything of economic 
consequence to man and therefore can well be allowed to remain as an 
attractive feature of the Oregon shore line. 



Plate 56, A. Band-tailed Pigeon squab on nest. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 

Plate 56, B. Western Mourning Dove on nest. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 


er v^oiumoirormes 

Pigeons and Doves: Family Columbidae 

Band-tailed Pigeon: 

Columba fas data fas data Say 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: End of tail with broad two inch band, pale gray, bor- 
dered above by black; back of neck with white collar adjoined by iridescent bronzy patch 
spreading back as a greenish wash; head and under parts purplish pink, fading to 
whitish on belly; fore part of back tinged with brownish, hinder part bluish gray; 
wing quills blackish, coverts bluish gray, faintly edged with white. Adult female. : 
like male but duller and much grayer; white nuchal band often obsolete, iridescent 
patch restricted, head grayish instead of pink, under parts largely grayish. Young 
without white on nape, under parts dull grayish, tinged with brown on breast; 
upper parts with feathers more or less lightly bordered with paler; head and neck 
dull bluish gray in male, light grayish brown in female. Length: 15-16, wing 8.00- 
8.80, tail 6.00-6.50." (Bailey) Nest: A flimsy structure of twigs on the flat limb of 
a tree (Plate 56, A). Eggs: Usually i, rarely 2., pure white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia and north central Colorado 
south into Mexico. Winters from southwestern United States southward. In Ore- 
gon: Common summer resident and breeding species west of Cascades. Most 
abundant in Coast Ranges. Casual in winter in western Oregon. Straggler only to 
eastern Oregon. 

DOUGLAS (1914) collected the first Band-tailed Pigeon (Plate 56, A) for 
the State at the mouth of the Santiam River, August 19, 1815, and since 
that time it has been reported regularly by ornithologists visiting western 
Oregon. It is greatly prized as a game bird and at one time was reduced 
in numbers, but a long Federal closed season has restored the species to 
something of its former abundance. It is now common in the western 
part of the State, where it is found in the greatest abundance on the coast 
(earliest date of arrival, March 5, Lane County; latest date of fall depar- 
ture, October 2.8, Lincoln County). There it builds a nest, usually high 
in a coniferous tree, and lays its one or two eggs on a flimsy platform of 
twigs. Egg laying is at its height in late May and June, the extreme 
dates being May 3 and July n. There is one winter record from Curry 
County: Jewett reported 150 birds feeding on madrone berries at Agness, 
January 18, 192.8. Our only definite record for eastern Oregon is one by 
Jewett for Harney County of a bird found October 19, 192.8, at the Home 
Creek Ranch at the western base of the Steens Mountains, a most unlikely 
place for a Band-tailed Pigeon. 

When the Passenger Pigeons disappeared in the eastern States, a theory 



advanced to account for their disappearance was that they had moved to 
a new territory, presumably farther west, and the Band-tailed Pigeons are 
still occasionally reported as being that long-lost species. Nothing could 
be farther from the truth. Except in size, the two do not resemble each 
other in any way, the differences between them being about the same as 
those between the Band-tailed Pigeon and the Mourning Dove. In fact, 
the Passenger Pigeon might be described as a much enlarged and more 
highly decorated Mourning Dove. 

The food of the Band-tailed Pigeons consists largely of acorns, moun- 
tain-ash berries, the numerous species of Rubus (blackberry, raspberry, 
salmonberry, and thimbleberry), elderberries, currants, kinnikinnick, 
dogwood, and many others, and seeds of grain, peas, legumes of various 
kinds, and doubtless many others. After the breeding season the birds 
gather in large flocks, feeding on the berries of salal, salmonberry, black- 
berries, and the numerous abundant fruits of the fall months. The flocks 
wander somewhat, occasionally appearing above timber line to feed about 
the heather patches, apparently to obtain seeds of Lupinus lyalli, which 
grows in abundance in such places. Gabrielson first noted this on August 
15, 19x6, when a single bird was flushed from a heather patch on Mount 
Hood, and has seen the same behavior several times since. 

There is, at times, considerable complaint regarding the depredations 
of Band-tailed Pigeons on agricultural crops. Green prunes are eaten to 
some extent, though usually not so heavily as to materially reduce the 
crop, and every year it is alleged that these birds do great damage to 
grain and peas. Where grain is broadcast, they do pick up kernels that 
are left on the surface, but in no instance have we found them scratching 
out the covered grain. Where peas are grown for canning they also eat 
the peas remaining on the surface, which causes considerable concern 
among the farmers. Gabrielson at one time spent two weeks checking 
on this behavior and collected a number of stomachs. The birds had been 
eating peas, but a careful check on the fields in question revealed no 
damage to the crop. The flock showed a tendency to feed in the same 
part of the field for several days in succession. Comparisons between 
those areas and areas where the pigeons did not feed showed the stand on 
the supposedly damaged area to be as good as that on other areas. As 
the peas are drilled to a depth of 4 to 6 inches, this is logical. The birds 
were at no time observed to scratch out seed, being content to wander 
about picking up the spilled seed from the surface. 

Rock Dove: 

Columba livia livia Gmelin 

DESCRIPTION. Sexes alike. In original form, pale gray all over, except the rump, 
which is white. Two distinct black bars across the wing, greenish metallic area on 
either side of neck. In domestication, these have developed wide variations into 

PIGEONS AND DOVES: Family Columbidae [32.7 

white-reddish browns and other colors, possibly from crosses with other species. 
The wild birds in Oregon are a motley lot, though there are many birds approaching 
the original species in color and markings. Si^e: Length 14, wing 8.80. Nest: A 
few straws, bits of grass, or other material about buildings or on the rocks. Eggs: 
-L, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Southern Europe, northern Africa, and Asia Minor. Intro- 
duced and widely reared as the Domestic Pigeon. Escaped and breeding about many 
towns in United States. In Oregon: Has gone wild and become established as a 
breeding bird about docks and waterfront of Portland, grain elevators and railroad 
yards of numerous other towns, and rocky cliffs along Umatilla River. 

THE ROCK DOVE, or common domestic pigeon, has become naturalized 
and established about numerous towns in both eastern and western Ore- 
gon. It is particularly abundant along the Portland waterfront, where it 
breeds on the buildings and feeds about the grain docks. It has been 
established and breeds about Pilot Rock and in the cliffs along the 
Umatilla River below Pendleton, and these are the only Oregon colonies 
we have noted that have reverted to ancestral habits. Incidentally, the 
Umatilla River colony is greatly appreciated by a pair of Prairie Falcons 
that have lived for years on a nearby cliff. Many of the doves have 
reverted to the ancient slate-blue and white plumage of their ancestors, 
but there are still many mixed colored individuals among these natural- 
ized birds. 

Western Mourning Dove: 

Zenaidura macroura marginella (Woodhouse) 

DESCRIPTION. "Tail of fourteen feathers, graduated, more than two thirds as long 
as wing; feathers more or less narrowed at tips; wings pointed; tarsus naked, side 
toes of unequal length, the outer shortest; space around eye bare. Adult male: tail 
bordered with white and with subterminal black spots; back and wings with a few 
roundish black spots; rest of upper parts brown; top of head washed with bluish 
gray, sides of head with blue-black spot and pink iridescence; under parts brownish, 
tinged with pink on breast. Adult female: similar but paler throughout, with little 
if any bluish gray on head, black ear spot smaller, and metallic gloss less distinct. 
Young: duller than female, without metallic gloss or distinct ear spot; feathers of 
upper parts and breast with grayish tips. Length: 11-13, wing 5.70-6.10, tail 5.70- 
6.50, bill .50-. 5 5." (Bailey) Nest: A flimsy platform of twigs, usually on a low 
horizontal limb but sometimes on the ground (Plate 56, B). Eggs: 2., pure white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Minnesota and Oklahoma west to Pacific Coast 
and north to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. South through 
Mexico. In Oregon: Common summer resident and breeder, most abundant in eastern 
Oregon but widely distributed in western Oregon, even to coast, where it is uncom- 
mon. Casual winter resident in scattered localities east of Coast Ranges. 

THE WESTERN MOURNING DOVE (Plate 56, B) is not mentioned either in 
the reports of the Lewis and Clark Expedition or in Douglas' Journals for 
this territory, but beginning with Townsend (1839) it has been included 
in every local list published in the State and in numerous manuscript 


notes in the files of the Biological Survey. In eastern Oregon, it is an 
abundant bird in all counties, coming north in late March and early 
April and remaining in numbers until late September and early October. 
It is most abundant in the Upper Sonoran and Transition Zones of that 
part of the State, although it is common in the mountains up to 7,000 
feet. It is an uncommon winter resident along the Columbia and Snake 
Rivers. We have winter records for Umatilla (January 11, February 17 
and 2.2.), Wasco (January 2.5), and Malheur (December 6) Counties. In 
western Oregon, it remains in small numbers through the winter. There 
are winter records for Multnomah, Polk, Yamhill, eastern Lane, Jackson, 
and Josephine Counties. It is much less common on the coast, but it has 
been noted in Tillamook, Lincoln, western Lane, Coos, and Curry Coun- 
ties, and is doubtless found from May 2.0 to September 3, though most 
of the records are for June. Egg laying is spread over a long period, dates 
for fresh eggs extending from April 2.0 to September 3, with the height 
of the laying season coming in June. 

These doves are not hunted for food or sport in Oregon, and conse- 
quently they are tame and unsuspicious in most localities, nesting and 
living commonly about farms and in smaller towns, where they may be 
found feeding about the farmyards or seen in a strong and rapid flight, 
the wings giving off a whistling sound as they flash by. Outside the 
breeding season they congregate in loose flocks that may be found feed- 
ing in scattered formation along the roadsides or in cultivated fields or 
sitting in solemn and dignified rows on the fence wires. When alarmed 
they take wing, the flock scattering as single birds or in pairs or trios. 
It is evident that they are not as gregarious as the Band-tailed Pigeons, 
for the flocks are not usually as large nor as persistent as in that species. 
In the arid section the doves frequent the vicinity of streams and water 
holes, feeding out sometimes for long distances into the sage lands. 

The food consists of all sorts of weed seed and grain, the latter largely 
waste grain. Even when feeding in the ripening grain, the Mourning 
Doves are so few in numbers in any one field as to cause little apparent 
damage. They consume enormous quantities of weed seed, the numbers 
sometimes found in a single stomach reaching almost unbelievable pro- 

Order C/UCUUP 


Cuckoos: Family Cuculidae 

California Cuckoo: 

Coccyzus americanus occidentalis Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Upper parts grayish brown, with faint green gloss; under 
parts white, grayish across chest; lower half of bill mainly yellow; side of head with 
blackish streak; tail graduated, middle feathers like back, tipped with black, the 
rest blue black, with broad white thumb marks on tips; wing quills mainly rugous on 
inner webs. Young: like adults, but tail duller, without blue, and white not 
strikingly contrasted with brown. Length: 11.3013.50, wing 5.50-6.00, tail 6.10- 
6.90, bill 1.01-1.08, depth of bill through base .37-. 40." (Bailey) Nest: A flimsy 
platform of twigs, sometimes scantily lined with bits of finer vegetation. Eggs: 3 
to 4, light greenish blue. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia south to Lower California 
and inland to Colorado and Texas. Winters in an unknown territory southward. 
In Oregon: Rare summer resident, most abundant west of Cascades but recorded 
sparingly from eastern Oregon. 

THE CALIFORNIA CUCKOO, the western representative of the familiar 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, is not a common bird anywhere in Oregon. In 
our own experience, as well as in that of others, it is most abundant in 
the willow bottoms of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers but is rather 
erratic, appearing to be more common some seasons than others. Our 
earliest date is May 19, and our latest September 5, both Multnomah 
County; but the notes and specimens are too few to use as a basis for 
any definite statement regarding arrival and departure dates. Townsend 
(1839) listed it from the territory of Oregon, and Prill (i89ig) recorded 
eggs on November 7, 1891, from Sweet Home. Johnson (1880) considered 
it rare in the Willamette Valley, as did Anthony (Bailey 1901), Wood- 
cock (1901), and Shelton (1917). During 192.3, 192.4* an< ^ I 9 2 -5' we found 
it to be a fairly common bird along the Columbia. We observed at least 
a dozen birds on June 8, 192.3, and obtained many other records and 
specimens during each of the three seasons. Since then our records have 
been rather sporadic. 

It is a rare bird in eastern Oregon, only three records being available 
to us up to the present time. Bendire (1877) wrote as follows: 

August i, 1876, camping under a clump of willow bushes near Keeney's Ferry, on the Oregon 
side of the Snake River, I found a nest of this species containing half grown young birds. 


The parents, at first rather uneasy, soon lost their fears and attended to the wants of their 
young. They were constantly going back and forth bringing crickets, and judging from the 
number disposed of in the three hours I noticed them, the amount required in a day must 
be enormous. 

Streator (Biological Survey field notes) stated that he noted them every 
day between June 2.5 and July 3, 1896, at Plush, and Peck (i9iia) noted 
it on Willow Creek, Malheur County, on July 6, 1910. 

The eggs are laid on flimsy platforms of twigs, usually within a few 
feet of the ground. Occupied nests have been recorded from June i to 
August 2.. The November nesting recorded by Prill is abnormal. The 
young, decorated with an abundance of blackish-purple quills, are re- 
pulsive looking until the sheaths burst. Then, within a few hours, the 
slim babies are transformed into elegant creatures clad in waistcoats of 
white satin and coats of brown satin. 

The weird call notes of the California Cuckoo, or "rain crow," are 
most often heard in June and early July in the thickly wooded stream 
bottoms. There the bird conceals his slim, satiny elegance of plumage 
while giving voice to the peculiar chant directed to the rain gods. Al- 
though the effort is commendable in that the cuckoo is reputedly doing 
his earnest best to bring showers during the dry months, more and better 
results would be obtained by scheduling the performance either earlier 
or later in the season. 

Order Jtrigirormes 

Barn Owls: Family Tytonidae 

Barn Owl: 

Tyto alba fratincola (Bonaparte) 

DESCRIPTION. "Wings long, pointed, folding beyond tail; tail short, about half as 
long as wing; tarsus nearly twice as long as middle toe without claw, closely 
feathered above, slightly feathered and bristly below, as on toes; feathers of back 
of tarsus pointing upward; inner toe as long as middle toe; inner edge of middle 
claw pectinated. Facial disk pure white to tawny; under parts pure white to yellow- 
ish brown, dotted with triangular brown or blackish spots; upper parts yellowish 
brown, more or less overlaid with mottled gray, finely streaked with black and 
white; wings and tail with a few dusky bands. Length: 14.75-18.00, wing 11.50- 
14.00, tail 5.50-7.50, bill .90-1.00." (Bailey) Nest: In hollow trees and old build- 
ings or on cliffs where eggs are usually laid on accumulated debris. Eggs: 3 to 6, 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Oregon, Colorado, Nebraska, Illinois, Great 
Lakes, and southern New England south to Central America. In Oregon: Uncommon 
permanent resident, likely to be found in any part of State but probably most com- 
mon in western Oregon. 

CASSIN (1856) first credited the Barn Owl (Plates 57 and 58) to Oregon. 
Newberry (1857) found it an uncommon species in the Klamath Basin. 
Woodcock (1902.) reported it from Scio, Haines (Baker County), and 
Corvallis. Finley (i9o6c) found it at Portland. Shelton (1917) listed 
specimens from Eugene, the mouth of the Siuslaw River, and Diamond 
Peak, the latter a surprising place to find this owl. We have seen speci- 
mens from Benton (4), Multnomah (2.), and Umatilla (i) Counties and 
have seen it in Tillamook, Klamath, and Wallowa Counties. These 
records are scattered throughout the year. The Barn Owl undoubtedly 
breeds sparingly in this State. The only definite nesting records are 
Patterson's two dates of April 2.0 and 2.4, 192.4, in southern Oregon. The 
birds seem to be most numerous in the southern Willamette Valley, 
where Gabrielson has repeatedly seen them in barns on farms south of 
Corvallis. The farmers there protect them as they value highly their 
services as rat and gopher catchers. 



BARN OWLS: Family Tytonidai 


Plate 58. Barn Owl. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 


Typical Owls: Family Stngidae 

MacFarlane's Screech Owl: 

Of us as to macjarlanei (Brewster) 

DESCRIPTION. "Upper parts brownish or sooty gray with black shaft streaks and 
creamy stripes on scapulars and edge of wing; lower parts with heavy shaft streaks 
and numerous fine cross-lines of black ; legs and feet buffy , slightly mottled with dusky. 
Male: wing 6.96, tail 3.80, bill from nostril .53. Female: wing 7.2.3, tail 3.85, bill 
from nostril .57." (Bailey) Nest: A hollow in a tree or an old woodpecker hole. 
Eggs: 4 to 5, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Permanent resident of southern British Columbia south to 
eastern Oregon, northeastern California, and southern Idaho. In Oregon: Regular 
permanent resident everywhere east of Cascades except in extreme southern Klamath 
County. (See Figure 7.) 

THE LARGE MacFarlane's Screech Owl, with the pale colors of the smaller 
California Screech Owl (0. a. bendiret), is found throughout eastern Ore- 
gon where it behaves much as do Screech Owls elsewhere. It is almost 
strictly nocturnal, usually retiring to some hollow tree or dense thicket 
to spend the day, and is therefore difficult to see. Bendire (1891) men- 
tioned a nest and eggs taken near Malheur Lake on April 16, 1877, the 
first record for this subspecies within the State. Miller (1904) reported 
it from Wheeler County, Peck (1911 a) from northern Malheur County, 
and Walker (1917^ from near Maupin and from Moody's Ranch, both 
on the Deschutes River. Patterson took eggs May i and 14, 19x8, in 
Klamath County. There are three specimens in the Biological Survey 
collection identified as this species, one taken at Wapinitia, Wasco Coun- 
ty, June 17, 1897, one at McKenzie Bridge, Lane County, July 8, 1914, 

FIGURE 7.- Distribution of three forms of Screech Owls in Oregon: i, MacFarlane's Screech 
Owl (Otus asio macfarlanet); 2., Brewster's Screech Owl (0. a. brewsteri)', 3, California 
Screech Owl (0. a. bendiret). 

TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strigidae [ 33 5 ] 

and one at Ontario, Malheur County, September 2.4, 192.0. We have 15 
specimens in our collections, well scattered both geographically and 
seasonally through eastern Oregon, that are clearly this subspecies, which 
is therefore the Screech Owl found as a permanent resident in that part 
of the State. 

Brewster's Screech Owl: 

Otus asio brewsteri Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION. Slightly larger than the California Screech Owl with brownish or 
buffy markings on the upper parts and sometimes a buffy suffusion beneath. Si%e: 
Length, male 8.98, wing 6.65, tail 3.35, culmen .58. Nest: In hollow tree or old 
woodpecker hole. Eggs: 2. to 5, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Western Oregon and extreme southern part of eastern Wash- 
ington. In Oregon: Resident Screech Owl of western Oregon, the subspecies having 
been described from Salem by Ridgway in 1914. (See Figure 7.) 

BREWSTER'S SCREECH OWL (Plate 59) is the most common small owl found 
in western Oregon, and all Screech Owl records in literature from western 
Oregon north of the Rogue River Valley now properly belong under this 
name. This owl is not seen by the average observer as frequently as the 
Great Horned Owl; but it is equally common, and its quavering call is 
one of the regular night sounds of spring and early summer. It is strictly 
nocturnal, seldom moving voluntarily from its hiding place in a hollow 
tree or in a dense foliage mass until well after sundown. There are excep- 
tions to all rules, however, and occasionally we have found it hunting on 
rainy winter days. Once on the Columbia River bottoms a Screech Owl 
flew into a weed patch, remained a moment, and left again with a small 
bird in its claws. It vanished behind a clump of low, deformed willows 
where a little search revealed a likely looking hollow tree. Sure enough, 
the owl was there and was unceremoniously hauled out for inspection 
still clutching firmly a freshly killed song sparrow. The first record of 
the bird from this territory seems to have been by Ridgway (1879). 
Johnson (1880) listed it as a common breeding species of the Willamette 
Valley, and Bendire (1891) stated that eggs were taken in Marion County, 
July 13, 1883, and May 8, 1891. Since that time there have been numerous 
records published and many specimens taken. 

California Screech Owl: 

Otus asio bendirei (Brewster) 

DESCRIPTION. Smaller than 0. a. brewsteri or 0. a. macfarlanei and paler than the 
former, it is like other gray Screech Owls with heavy shaft streaks of black on both 
the back and breast feathers and has somewhat inconspicuous cross-lining below. 
(Adapted from Mrs. Bailey.) Si%e: Length 8.58, wing 6.35, tail 3.17, culmen .55. 
Nest and eggs: As for other forms. 



TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strigidae [ 337 ] 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Over most of California and extreme southern Oregon. In 
Oregon: Found only in southern Klamath, Jackson, Josephine, and Curry Counties. 
(See Figure 7.) 

THE REFERENCES by Prill (1895 a) and Woodcock (1901) to the California 
Screech Owl refer to Brewster's Screech Owl (0. a. brews tert), which has 
since been described from the Willamette Valley with Salem as the type 
locality. With these records assigned to the proper form, there are now 
no published records of the California Screech Owl for Oregon. We find, 
however, that the birds from the extreme southern edge of the State may 
properly be referred here. There are four specimens in Jewett's collec- 
tions as follows: from Klamath County (no definite date); Eagle Point, 
Jackson County (March 2.1, 192.5); Sixes, Curry County (July 2.3, 1910); 
and Agness, Curry County (September 18, 1919). Gabrielson has one 
bird taken near Grants Pass (September 12., 1934). These birds are un- 
doubtedly closer to the California form than to the one described from 
the Willamette Valley. 

Flammulated Screech Owl: 

Otus flammeolus (Kaup) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Toes entirely naked to extreme base; ear tufts small; upper parts 
grayish, finely mottled and marked with blackish; stripes on sides of back yellowish 
brown or orange, white beneath the surface; under parts whitish, marked with 
broad mesial streaks and narrow cross-bars; face, throat, and upper parts sometimes 
washed with orange brown. Young: upper parts mottled transversely with gray 
and white, but without black streaking; under parts similarly but coarsely and 
regularly barred. Wing: 5.10-5.60, tail 2.. 60-3.00." (Bailey) Nest: In old wood- 
pecker holes. Eggs: 3 to 4, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From southern British Columbia, eastern Washington, and 
Idaho south to Central America. In Oregon: Extremely rare resident of eastern 

THE FLAMMULATED SCREECH OWL, a tiny bird no bigger than the Pygmy 
Owl, but with prominent ear tufts that are exact duplicates of those 
adorning its larger namesakes, is one of the least known of Oregon owls 
and is listed from the State on the basis of two specimens only. Jewett 
(192.80 recorded as the first Oregon specimen one taken at Old Fort 
Warner on Hart Mountain, eastern Lake County, May 2.5, 1917. We 
find an earlier skin, however, in the Biological Survey collection (No. 
2.59602.), taken June 9, 1916, at Homestead, Baker County, by H. H. 
Sheldon, a record of which has never been published. These are our only 
definite records. 

Montana Horned Owl: 

Bubo virginianus occidentalis Stone 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Ear tufts blackish; iris bright yellow; ring around face 
black; throat white; rest of under parts white or buffy, mottled and barred with 


brownish; flanks buffy; upper parts mottled dark brown, light grayish, and buffy, 
lighter colors -prevailing; wing quills and tail banded with dull brown; whole plumage 
irregularly varied with buffy, tawny, whitish, and dusky. Young: wing quills and 
tail feathers as in adult, rest of plumage dull buffy or ochraceous, everywhere barred 
with dusky." (Bailey) (See Plate 60, A.~) Si%e: Male, wing 13.71, tail 8.34, culmen 
i. 06; female, wing 14.78, tail 9.04, culmen 1.18. Nest: A cave or hollow in the rocks, 
a hollow tree, or an old crow's or hawk's nest. Eggs: 2. to 3, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Minnesota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and 
Kansas west to Nevada, southeastern Oregon, northeastern California, Wyoming, 
and Montana, north to central Alberta. In Oregon: Known as a winter bird. 

THIS SUBSPECIES, the Montana Horned Owl, differs from the Pacific Horned 
Owl in having darker feet and legs, more or less heavily barred with 
black, and in lacking or at least being less conspicuously marked with 
the buffy wash, both above and below, that is found in the more common 
form. Horned Owls are of common occurrence in Oregon, where their 
fierce hunting calls are well known and where, particularly in eastern 
Oregon, they are a familiar sight, usually perched in the heavier branches 
of the cottonwoods and willows of the wooded stream bottoms. The 
historical records of the Horned Owl in eastern Oregon are so much in- 
volved in the shifting about from one subspecies to another that has 
characterized the treatment of this group that it is impossible to trace 
the various forms without having the actual specimens at hand. Out of 
some thirty Oregon specimens available for our study we have three skins 
from east of the Cascades, all winter birds, that are undoubtedly this 
form. They were taken at Hermiston (December 10, 1916), Burns (Decem- 
ber 17, 1919), and Silver Lake (November i6, 1910). The first two are 
in Jewett's collection; the third, in Gabrielson's. 

Northwestern Horned Owl: 

Bubo virginianus lagophonus (Oberholser) 

DESCRIPTION. Similar to B. v. occidentalis but larger and with somewhat more con- 
trast between the buffy and black-and-white markings of the under parts. Si%e: 
Male, wing 13.95, tail 8.76, culmen 1.07; female, wing 14.74, tail 9.31, culmen 1.14. 
Nest and eggs: Same as for other forms of Horned Owls. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Idaho, northeastern Oregon, and eastern Wash- 
ington north through British Columbia and interior Alaska. In Oregon: Breeds in 
Blue Mountain section and probably scatters out over eastern Oregon somewhat in 

WE HAVE THREE specimens of this big black-and-white looking subspecies, 
the Northwestern Horned Owl, all in the Jewett collection. They are 
from Pilot Rock (January 2.9), Wallowa (September 19), and Enterprise 
(October 2.8). In addition, we have at various times had other skins 
from this area that were of this form. 

TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strigidae 


Plate 60, A. Young Montana Horned Owls. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 

Plate 60, B. Dusky Horned Owl. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 


Dusky Horned Owl: 

Bubo virginianus saturatus Rid g way 

DESCRIPTION. "Like B. v. pallescens, but plumage extremely dark, face generally 
sooty brownish mixed with grayish white; plumage usually without excess of 
yellowish brown, sometimes with none." (Bailey) Si%e: Length (skins) 19-2.4, 
wing 13.58-15.08, tail 8.07-9.53, exposed culmen 1.50-1.65. Nest: Same as for other 
Horned Owls. Eggs: 2. to 4, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Resident of Pacific Coast region from southern Alaska to 
northern California. In Oregon: Permanent resident west of Cascades. 

THE FIRST REFERENCE in Oregon ornithological literature that seems to 
refer to this subspecies, the Dusky Horned Owl (Plate 60, B), is Anthony's 
(1886) statement that it probably occurs in winter in Washington County. 
Prill (i89ib) listed it as a breeding bird in Linn County, and there is a 
specimen in the Carnegie Museum that was taken at Beaverton, May 2.2., 
1890. It is mentioned many times in the field notes of the Biological 
Survey and in our own notes. We have available for examination num- 
erous specimens in our own collections and several belonging to others, 
and all skins seen from western Oregon clearly belong to this subspecies. 
In habit, voice, and behavior this dusky representative of the race does 
not differ appreciably from its paler-colored relative to the east. It is 
the same fierce and aggressive hunter, able and willing to kill chickens, 
turkeys, grouse, rabbits, squirrels, and even skunks, although it does 
not carry olfactory evidence of so frequent an association with the latter, 
as does the eastern bird. 

Like others of its group, the Dusky Horned Owl nests early in the 
season, usually selecting an old hawk's or crow's nest for the home site. 
Egg-laying commences in late February or early March, and full sets 
have been taken in the early part of March. Braly has given us notes on 
one nest found near Salem on March 18 that contained a single young 
bird, which would indicate an exceptionally early laying period in that 
case. He also took a set of three well-incubated eggs on March 19, 1932., 
on Sauvies Island. 

Pacific Horned Owl: 

Bubo virginianus pacificus Cassin 

DESCRIPTION. Smallest of the forms found in eastern Oregon, much washed with 
buffy and brown on both the back and under parts; feet and legs white, or at most 
faintly buffy and slightly barred with blackish. Si%e: Male, wing 13.19, tail 8.01, 
culmen LOT.; female, wing 14.11, tail 8.60, culmen 1.07. Nest and eggs: Similar to 
those of other subspecies. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Most of California and eastern Oregon. In Oregon: Breeds 
in south-central Oregon. 

MOST OF THE eastern Oregon breeding birds, as well as many of the winter 
skins taken outside the Blue Mountains, are certainly closer to skins from 

TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strigidae [ 341 ] 

California than they are to lagofhonus or occidentalis. We have numerous 
specimens from Burns, Malheur, Maupin, Gateway, and Cayuse that are 
almost identical with birds from Los Angeles. In addition to these there 
is a peculiar looking bird in Jewett's collection, taken at Hart Mountain 
on June 2.1, 1933, that seems referable only to this species, perhaps as a 
slightly albinistic individual. In color it is most like subarcticus of the 
north and pallescens of the southern border, falling somewhat between 
these two. It lacks entirely the dark black and white barring of occidentalis 
and has only a slight touch of the buffy wash associated with -pacificus, 
although in size it corresponds to the latter. 

Snowy Owl: 

Nyctea nyctea (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Ear tufts rudimentary; ear openings small, without anterior flap, 
the two ears not distinctly different; tail not reaching beyond tips of longest under 
coverts; four outer quills emarginate; toes covered with long hair-like feathers, 
partly or wholly concealing the claws; bill nearly concealed by loral feathers. 
Adult male: body pure white, sometimes almost unspotted, but usually marked more 
or less with transverse spots or bars of slaty brown. Adult female: much darker, 
pure white only on face, throat, middle of breast and feet, the head spotted, and 
the rest of the body barred with dark brown. Male: length 10-13; wing 15.50- 
17.30, tail 9.00-9.70, bill i. Female: length 2.3-2.7, wing 17.30-18.70, tail 9.70- 
10.30, bill 1. 10." (Bailey) Nest: A slight depression in the ground, lined to some 
extent with feathers, moss, or lichen. Eggs: 5 to 7, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Circumpolar. Breeds on Arctic islands and on mainland of 
this continent, Yukon delta, central Mackenzie, central Keewatin, and northern 
Ungava, and migrates south sporadically to California, Texas, and Gulf States. In 
Oregon: Irregular winter visitor most frequently seen in eastern Oregon but occa- 
sionally appearing in western Oregon in November and December. 

THE SNOWY OWL (Plate 61, A) was first reported for Oregon by Townsend 
(1839), who simply listed it as one of the species of that territory with 
no date. Bendire (Brewer 1875) reported one at Camp Harney, January 
2.5, 1875, an d a little later (Bendire 1877) listed it as "a rare winter visitor, 
observed on several occasions, but no specimens procured." Johnson 
(1880) stated it was a winter bird of the Willamette Valley, and Merrill 
(1897) reported: "In December, 1896, there was a general migration of 
Snowy Owls into northern Idaho, Oregon and Washington and dozens 
were killed." Woodcock (1901), in addition to references to some of 
the above records, reported that it was occasionally taken at Corvallis, 
Scio, Dayton, and Yaquina Bay. The Yaquina Bay record was from 
Bretherton, who considered it "a rare winter visitor, quite numerous in 
1897." Walker (192.4) stated it was common during the winter of 1916-17 
at Netarts and Tillamook Bays, and from all the records available to us, 
it is evident that that winter and the following one witnessed the last 
flights that brought this great predator into Oregon in numbers. In 
almost every village and town in the northern part of eastern Oregon are 



Plate 61, A. Snowy Owl. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 

Plate 61, B. Young Northern Spotted Owl. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 

TYPICAL OWLS: family Strigidat 


mounted specimens taken in those winters. There are two birds in the 
Jewett collection and two in Gabrielson's collection, all taken in Uma- 
tilla County in 1916-17 and 1918. Since that time there have been 
sporadic newspaper references and reports of individual birds taken in 
various parts of the State. The last actual skin to come into the hands 
of either author was taken at Seaside, November 2.9, 192.9, and is now 
in Jewett's collection. 

This white terror of the north is not only the most beautiful but also 
the most conspicuous of all owls found in the State. Its habit of daylight 
hunting and its preference for open country cause it to be the victim of 
the first hunter to get within range, and few Snowy Owls that reach the 
settled sections of the State live to return to their northern homes. While 
in Oregon, they prey chiefly upon jack rabbits but are powerful enough 
to successfully attack China Pheasants, grouse, ducks, or even barnyard 
fowl when driven by hunger to hunt in the dooryards for something 

Rocky Mountain Pigmy Owl: 

Glaucidium gnoma pinicola Nelson 

DESCRIPTION. Like the California Pygmy Owl, but the browns entirely replaced by 
gray. "Upper parts grayish brown; head specked and tail barred with white; under 
parts white, streaked with brown. Eyes lemon yellow; bill and feet dull greenish 
yellow." (Bailey 192.8.) Si%e: About same as G. g. californicum. Nest: Old wood- 
pecker holes. Eggs: Usually 4, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Rocky Mountain region from Montana, Idaho, and Wash- 
ington south to Mexican line. In Oregon: Permanent resident of Blue Mountains, 
including Wallowa, Union, Baker, Grant, and Umatilla Counties, and of northern 
Malheur and Harney, eastern Crook, and southern Gilliam and Morrow Counties. 
(See Figure 8.) 

FIGURE 8. Distribution of Pygmy Owls in Oregon: i, Rocky Mountain Pygmy Owl (Glau- 
cidium gnoma pinicola); x, Coast Pygmy Owl (G. g. grinnelli^); 3, California Pygmy Owl 
(G. g. californicum). 


THE LITTLE GRAY Rocky Mountain Pygmy Owl is easily distinguished 
from the browner forms found to the west, as it is entirely lacking in any 
brown wash on the plumage. We regard it as rather rare in this State, 
although there are seven Oregon specimens available for examination. 
Like the other races, owls of this species are usually seen sitting motion- 
less on a limb at the top of a small tree. Though more or less diurnal in 
habit, they are most frequently seen on cloudy days or late in the after- 
noon. In habits and general behavior, they do not differ materially from 
the better-known subspecies. 

The only published reference to this little owl as an Oregon bird was 
Gabrielson's (192^) recording of Jewett's Wallowa County specimen, 
taken in the town of Wallowa, February 2.8, 1919, on the first field trip 
the writers made together. Bendire (1877), however, recorded under the 
name G. g. calif ornicum a bird taken at Camp Harney in 1875 ^at should 
be referred to this subspecies as it is now understood. 

Coast Pigmy Owl: 

Glaucidium gnoma grinnelli Ridgway 

DESCRIPTION. Like the California Pygmy Owl but much browner, particularly on 
the back. Si%e: About size of G. g. californicum. Nest: Old woodpecker holes or 
other excavations in stumps and trees. Eggs: About 4, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Pacific Coast district from southeastern Alaska to Mon- 
terey, California, and east to interior valleys. In Oregon: Found in all coast counties 
and coast mountains. (See Figure 8.) 

THE RECORDS of the various subspecies of these little owls in Oregon are 
much confused. Townsend (1839) listed it as "found in the territory of 
Oregon, ' ' but the lack of locality records makes it impossible to say which 
subspecies is meant. The first published record that is undoubtedly 
referable to this form is by Woodcock (1901), who listed it from Yaquina 
Bay on Bretherton's report. Walker (192.4) listed a specimen taken at 
Blaine, Tillamook County, on November 12., 1919, and Gabrielson (192^) 
listed two specimens from Netarts in the Jewett collection. So far as we 
are able to learn, the remaining published records refer to the California 
Pygmy Owl. 

We have had a total of 41 skins to use in working out the range of 
these little owls in this State. The birds of the Coast Mountains and 
coastal strip, with the single exception of a fall specimen from Netarts, 
are of this form. Birds from Portland are clearly of this form, as is a 
single bird from Roseburg (March 2.5). On the other hand, late March 
birds from Eugene and many skins from Douglas County are clearly G. g. 
californicum. We have no skins from the Willamette Valley, which is 
undoubtedly the meeting place of these two subspecies. In our own col- 
lections, skins from Curry, Douglas, Lincoln, Lane (coast slope), and 

TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strigidae [ 345 ] 

Tillamook Counties are of this subspecies, and birds seen by Jewett at 
various times from Portland are also of this form. From the skins avail- 
able, we conclude that the Coast Pygmy Owl is the breeding form inland 
to the inner base of the Coast Ranges and merges with californicum in the 
Willamette and Umpqua Valleys. 

California Pigmy Owl: 

Glaucidium gnoma californicum Sclater 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Very small, under parts white, thickly streaked with dark 
brown; sides brownish, indistinctly spotted with lighter; upper farts dark, slaty gray, 
olive brown, or dark rusty brown; head specked with white; tail blackish or brownish, 
barred with white. Young: like adult, but top of head plain gray. Length: 6.50-7.50, 
wing 3.40-4.00, tail i.4o-z.8o." (Bailey) Nest: In old woodpecker holes. Eggs: 
4 to 6, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: California, except humid coast, through central Oregon 
and Washington to British Columbia. In Oregon: Permanent resident of Cascades, 
wooded parts of Klamath and Lake Counties, and Rogue River Valley extending 
into Umpqua and Willamette Valleys where it passes into the coast form. (See 
Figure 8.) 

MOST OF THE early Oregon records apply to the California Pygmy Owl. 
Newberry (1857) reported it as rare in the Cascades, and Bendire (1892.) 
reported nesting birds from Corvallis that probably refer to this form. 
Since that time there have been numerous references to Pygmy Owls, 
mostly from territory occupied by this form. We have numerous speci- 
mens, including a pair of birds and six eggs taken from an old wood- 
pecker hole in an aspen tree at Fort Klamath on May 2.1, 1930. The eggs 
are now in Braly's collection and the skins in Jewett's. In addition, we 
have skins that are strictly comparable to these breeding birds from 
Gold Hill (March 2.4), the Umpqua Valley, Oakland (December 6, Janu- 
ary 8, February 2.4), Dillard (December 13), Ten-mile (Douglas County, 
November i), and Eugene (March 17). There is also an adult fall bird 
(September 16) from Netarts in the Jewett collection that is undoubtedly 
of this form and can only be considered a straggler that has wandered 
from the normal range of the race. Skins from Warner Valley (February 
10) and Redmond (January 13) seem to be intermediate between this and 
G. g. pinicola but closer to californicum. 

These little owls generally hide in the foliage of evergreen trees so 
that they are difficult to detect. As a matter of fact they are much more 
common than the casual observer would expect, and their peculiar call 
notes are a familiar sound in the twilight hours. They are usually ob- 
served when by accident they select a conspicuous perch, such as a tele- 
phone pole, the topmost branch of a thick shrub, or the spire-pointed tip 
of some small conifer where the tiny owls appear as conspicuous spots 
in the gathering twilight. 



TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strigidae [ 347 ] 

Western Burrowing Owl: 

Speofyfo cunicularia hyfugaea (Bonaparte) 

DESCRIPTION. "Tail only about half as long as wing; tarsus more than twice as 
long as middle toe, scantily feathered in front, bare behind; toes bristly. Adults: 
Upper parts dull earth brown, spotted and barred with white and buffy; under parts 
mainly buffy barred with brown. Young: under parts mainly buffy, unmarked; 
upper parts plain brown except wings and tail, which are as in adults [Plate 6z]. 
Length: 9-11, wing 5.80-7.2.0, tail 3.15-3.50, bill .55-. 60." (Bailey) Nest: Usually 
an old rodent burrow or similar excavation. Eggs: 6 to n, white. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Pacific Coast east to Minnesota and Iowa and 
from British Columbia and Manitoba south to Central America. In Oregon: Breeds 
throughout eastern Oregon, except in higher mountains, and in Rogue River Valley. 
Straggler only elsewhere in western Oregon. Largely migratory in eastern Oregon, 
although a few individuals may remain through winter. 

THE WESTERN BURROWING OWL, a curiously long-legged little bird, is a 
familiar sight in the lower sections of eastern Oregon as well as in the 
pasture lands of the Rogue River Valley. Often it may be seen perched 
on the fence posts or sitting by the open mouth of an old rodent burrow. 
It was first reported for Oregon by Townsend (1839). Newberry (1857), 
Cassin (1856), Suckley (1860), and Bendire (1875) all found it in eastern 
Oregon, and many subsequent writers have listed it from various places 
there. There are many references to it in the field notes of Biological 
Survey members who have worked eastern Oregon, and these, combined 
with our own material, show it to be present in every county east of the 
Cascades but most abundant in Wasco, Morrow, Umatilla, Malheur, 
Harney, and Lake Counties. Although a few individuals may remain 
during the winter, it is largely migratory in eastern Oregon, where it is 
present from April (earliest date, March 2.0, Baker County) to October 
(latest date, October 31, Wasco County). 

Woodcock (1901) reported four specimens from Corvallis and stated on 
the authority of Prill that the species bred in Linn County, and Shelton 
(1917) recorded it as found sparingly in Lane County and considered it a 
probable resident. It is a regular inhabitant of the prairie district north 
and east of Medford, Jackson County, and a more or less irregular strag- 
gler to the Willamette Valley, where three birds in Jewett's collection 
from the Corvallis Game Farm were taken on October 19, November i, 
.and January 10. 

The eggs are laid in April and early May in the old burrows of ground 
squirrels and other digging rodents. We find the following egg dates in 
our own notes and those of Braly: April 16 (4 eggs), May n (5 young 
and 2. addled eggs), May n (8 eggs), and June xo (large young). One 
nest excavated by Jewett on April n, 1932., near Boardman, contained no 
eggs as yet but four kangaroo rats, two pocket mice, two lizards, and 
one horned toad, all freshly killed. Patterson reported nests in Jackson 
County, April 16, and May 4, 12., and 18, 192.5. 


Northern Spotted Owl: 

Strix occidentalis caurina (Merriam) 

DESCRIPTION. Upper parts dark brown, head and neck spotted with round white 
spots, wing quills spotted with pale brown and white and slightly tipped with 
whitish; tail banded, under parts whitish, barred and spotted with brown. (Adapted 
from Mrs. Bailey.) Si^e: Length 16-19, wing iz-i3, tail 8-9. Nest: In a hollow 
tree or crevice in a cliff. Eggs: z to 3, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Permanent resident from British Columbia to San Francisco 
Bay, California. In Oregon: Permanent resident west of Cascades. 

THE NORTHERN SPOTTED OWL (Frontispiece and Plate 61, 5), a strictly 
nocturnal resident of the thick fir and spruce forests, is rarely seen except 
by accident, and little is known regarding its abundance or habits in 
Oregon. Jewett (i9i6b) published the first record for the State, an adult 
male taken at Netarts April ix, 1914. Shelton (1917) listed a specimen 
in the University of Oregon collection. Prill (192.8) recorded one taken 
at Scio November i, 192.4. In 192.9, we published the record of one taken 
near Oswego, November 15, 1914, by E. F. Gonty and referred to two 
specimens without data in the Portland City Museum, presumably taken 
near Portland (Jewett and Gabrielson 192.9). A specimen taken Novem- 
ber 9, 1914, by W. H. Riddle at Ocean View is now in Jewett's collection. 
W. E. Sherwood located a nest containing young near Trail, Jackson 
County, in June 192.5. He kept several of these young birds as pets, 
taking numerous photographs of them, and collected at least one of the 
birds, which went into the Dr. L. C. Sanford collection. In addition to 
these known specimens, there are a few sight records by competent 
observers. In the migration reports to the Biological Survey, Overton 
Dowell, Jr., reported seeing one at Mercer, April 2.5, 1910, and Vernon 
Bailey (field notes) saw one at Eugene between June 15 and 2.0, 1914. 
Gabrielson saw a single bird near Corvallis on December 2.7, 1918. It 
swooped at him while he was "squeaking" to attract the attention of 
some small birds. These notes are given in detail to show how little we 
know about this bird that is probably much more common than these 
records indicate. 

Great Gray Owl: 

Scotiaptex nebulosa nebulosa (Forster) 

DESCRIPTION. "Ear tufts wanting; ear openings large, with conspicuous anterior 
flap, the two ears strikingly different; bill and feet small, bill inconspicuous among 
facial feathers; toes entirely covered with feathers; eyes yellow, eye ring black; face 
with concentric rings of gray and dark brown; upper parts sooty, mottled with gray 
and blackish; wing quills and tail banded; under parts mixed sooty and whitish, with 
irregular sooty streaking; flanks and legs barred. Length: 2.5-30, extent 54-60, wing 
about 16-18, tail 11.00-12.. 50." (Bailey) Nest: A bulky nest of sticks, lined with 
feathers and moss. Eggs: 2. to 4, white. 

TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strigidae [ 349 ] 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds in Hudsonian and Canadian Zone from tree limit 
in Alaska and Mackenzie south to central California, Montana, Idaho, and Ontario, 
south in winter to northern United States. In Oregon: Rare permanent resident. 

TOWNSEND (1839) listed the Great Gray Owl for Oregon. Newberry 
(1857) found it in the Cascade Mountains, Deschutes Basin, and along 
the Columbia River. Shelton (1917) reported finding the remains of one 
at a hunter's cabin near Diamond Peak, Johnson (1880) included it in 
his list of birds from various points in the Willamette Valley, and there 
is a record of one killed near Milwaukie by Guy Stryker (Jewett and 
Gabrielson 1919). There are a number of mounted specimens in Oregon, 
all without adequate data but reported killed close to the area where 
the birds are now located. Such specimens have been seen at Medford, 
Bear Valley (Grant County), Pendleton, and Eugene. In addition to 
these, there are five specimens in the Jewett collection, from Sherwood 
(December n, 1914), Baker (November 10, 1915), Bear Valley (Grant 
County, October 18, 192.2.)? Marr Flat (Wallowa County, September 13, 
1930), and Hardman (Morrow County, August 14, 1932.). Other than 
these records little is known about the Great Gray Owl as an Oregon 
bird. It is shot by every hunter who comes within range, a circumstance 
that is true of all other large owls and that undoubtedly contributes 
materially to their scarcity. 

Long-eared Owl: 

Asio wilsonianus (Lesson) 

DESCRIPTION. "Ear tufts dark brown, conspicuous; face mainly yellowish brown; 
under parts whitish and yellowish, with dark brown shaft streaks and horizontal 
bars on belly; flanks yellowish brown, unspotted; upper parts mottled gray, tawny, 
and blackish; wings and tail barred. Length: 13-16, wing n.5o-iz.oo, tail 6.00- 
6.2.0, bill .65." (Bailey) Nest: Usually an old crow's or magpie's or hawk's nest, 
lined with grass, leaves, etc. Eggs: 3 to 6, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia, Mackenzie, Ontario, Quebec, 
and Newfoundland south to southern California, Texas, Arkansas, and Virginia. 
Winters from southern Canada to central Mexico. In Oregon: Common summer 
resident of eastern Oregon, less common in winter. Winters sparingly in western 
Oregon and possibly breeds occasionally. 

To KNOW the Long-eared Owl and its wonderful variety of hisses, cat- 
calls, and clatterings, one must go to the willow-bordered streams of 
eastern Oregon. Since Townsend (1839) listed it as an Oregon bird, 
many observers have reported it from that part of the State, including 
Bendire (1877), who took a number of sets of eggs in the Harney Valley. 
It makes its home in the abandoned nests of crows, magpies, or hawks, 
which it repairs, sometimes rather sketchily, before depositing its set of 
pure white eggs. The breeding season falls in late April and early May. 
April 4 and May 15 are the extreme dates published by others or noted 


by us. The young (Plate 63), like those of all other owls, remain in the 
nest for a comparatively long period and are fed a variety of small animals 
and occasionally birds by the industrious parents. When an intruder 
approaches the nest the adults usually show great concern and produce 
an astonishing variety of noises. The bills are snapped rapidly, and a 
medley of catcalls, hisses, and throaty wuk-wuk notes pours forth. The 
anxious parents may dive at the intruder or sit on a nearby branch, with 
feathers erect, scolding the disturber and threatening dire things. 

This owl is found sparingly in winter in western Oregon. Woodcock 
(1902.) listed a number of specimens and localities, and Shelton (1917) 
recorded it for Lane County. Pope reported taking eggs in 1894, pre- 
sumably near Sheridan, to Woodcock (1901), the only indication we 
have that the species might breed in western Oregon. 

In the fall and winter, numbers of these Long-eared Owls, together 
with a few Short-eared Owls, often roost in willow thickets where the 
mouse population furnishes an adequate diet. On November 17, 1930, on 
the Malheur River, we flushed more than a dozen from a single willow 
clump, the largest congregation of this species yet seen. All sorts of mice 
with which the willow bottoms and sage-coated slopes abound are grist 
to the digestive mill of this medium-sized owl that is in fact one of the 
most valuable mousers we have in the State and should be rigidly pro- 
tected. Contrary to popular belief, it does little or no harm to birds and 

Short-eared Owl: 

Asio flammeus flammeus (Pontoppidan) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Ear tufts inconspicuous; eyes with black ring and white eye- 
brows; body varying from yellowish brown to buffy white, conspicuously streaked 
with dark brown; wings and tail irregularly banded with dark brown and buffy or 
yellowish brown. Young: face brownish black, under parts plain dull buffy, tinged 
with gray in front; upper parts dark brown, the feathers tipped with yellowish 
brown. Length: 13.80-16.75, wing 11.80-13.00, tail 5.80-6.10, bill .6o-.65." (Bailey) 
Nest: A loose mass of sticks and grass on the ground. Eggs: 4 to 7, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska, Mackenzie, northern Quebec, and 
Greenland south to California, Colorado, Missouri, Great Lakes, and New Jersey. 
Winters from British Columbia and northern United States south to West Indies 
and Central America. In Oregon: Regular permanent resident, whose numbers in- 
crease during winter, when the birds sometimes congregate in considerable numbers 
in small areas. 

THE SHORT-EARED OWL was first reported from Oregon by Townsend 
(1839), an d Newberry (1857) found it common about the Klamath Lakes 
and in the Deschutes Basin. It prefers the great grassy flats and meadows 
of eastern Oregon, where an abundant supply of mice can usually be found. 
One or the other of us has noted winter concentrations in Malheur River 

TYPICAL OWLS: Family Striydat 

Plate 63, A. Downy young Long-eared Owls. (Photo by Ira N. Gabrielson.) 

Plate 63, B. Young Long-eared Owl. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 


Valley, the Grande Ronde Valley, and in the Klamath Basin. Except 
during these gatherings, this owl is only occasionally seen by the average 
observer, even though it is widely distributed in the State. It has been 
reported breeding in Harney Valley (Bendire 1877), Malheur and Klamath 
Lakes (Cantwell, Biological Survey files), Umatilla County (Lewis, Bio- 
logical Survey files), and Morrow County (Jewett) in eastern Oregon. 
For a nest it gathers together a nondescript mass of material on the 
ground and there lays its eggs. 

In western Oregon it is much less common and is most often noted in 
the southern Willamette Valley, between Corvallis and Eugene, and along 
the Columbia in the vicinity of Portland. Scattered individuals have 
been recorded for many localities in that part of the State, where an 
observer may expect to see an occasional wintering bird almost anywhere. 
In the winter of 1934-35, a considerable flight of these owls arrived on 
Sauvies Island and remained throughout the winter. At various times we 
saw from 6 to 10 birds in a single morning. 

This owl is a day-flying bird to some extent. On cloudy days it is 
frequently seen flying slowly about over the marshlands with steady 
vigorous sweeps of the long wings, and it often starts its hunting activi- 
ties before sundown. Even when flushed in bright sunlight, it is able to 
see its way about without a great deal of difficulty. One stomach taken 
at Enterprise, May 31, 192.8, contained three young Microtus, just about 
what one would expect, considering the foraging habits of the bird. 

Richardson's Owl: 

Crypfoglaux funerea richardsoni (Bonaparte) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Eye ring black, face whitish; under parts gray, heavily 
blotched with dark brown across breast and streaked with dark brown on belly; 
upper parts dark brown, spotted with white; flanks and feet usually buffy, more or less 
spotted with brown; under tail coverts striped with brown. Young: face blackish, eye- 
brows and malar streak white in sharp contrast; wings and tail like adult; body 
plain seal brown except for yellowish brown on belly and flanks; flanks more or 
less spotted with brown. Length: 9-11, wing 6.60-7.40, tail 4.10-4.70." (Bailey) 
Nest: In holes in trees. Eggs: 3 to 6, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from tree limit south to northern parts of British 
Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia. Winters south to United States 
boundary and casually farther south. In Oregon: Rare winter straggler from the 

AUDUBON (1838), Townsend (1839), Cassin (Cassin 1856; Baird, Cassin, 
and Lawrence 1858), and Bendire (1892.) all listed Richardson's Owl. 
The first three references were based on Townsend 's statement that it 
was "found in the territory of Oregon," and Bendire said it was not rare 
at Camp Harney. The only definite record since Bendire's work is a 
specimen now in the Biological Survey collection (No. 184845) that was 
taken at Fort Klamath, March xi, 1901, by B. S. Cunningham. 

TYPICAL OWLS: Family Strtgtdae [35}] 

Saw-whet Owl: 

Cryftoglaux acadica acadica (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Eye ring whitish, face streaked with dark brown; under parts 
white, streaked vertically with reddish brown, most thickly on breast; upper parts olive 
brown, marked with white, finely streaked on head, and coarsely streaked or 
spotted on back, wings, and tail; feet plain white or huffy. Young: face blackish, in 
sharp contrast to white eyebrows and white malar streak; upper parts and breast 
plain dark seal brown; wings and tail as in adult; belly yellowish brown. Length: 
7.15-8.50, wing 5.2.5-5.90, tail 2.. 80-3. 15." (Bailey) Nest: A deserted woodpecker 
hole, old squirrel nest, or hollow tree. Eggs: 3 to 7, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Alaska, British Columbia, Alberta, 
Manitoba, Quebec, and Nova Scotia south to California, Mexico, Nebraska, the 
Great Lake States, and Maryland. Winters through most of breeding range and 
south to Gulf of Georgia. In Oregon: Uncommon but widely distributed resident. 

ALTHOUGH the little Saw-whet Owl is not common anywhere in Oregon, 
it has been recorded throughout the State since Townsend's time. Most 
of the reports have been of actual specimens taken, including one at The 
Dalles (Cooper and Suckley 1860), several specimens at Camp Harney 
(Bendire 1877), one i n tne Willamette Valley (Johnson 1880), one at Fort 
Klamath (Merrill 1888), specimens at Corvallis (Woodcock 1902.), and a 
nest reported from Camp Harney, May 2., 1881 (Bendire 1891). There is 
one skin in the Biological Survey collection from Malheur County (Octo- 
ber 1916), and there are three in the Overton Dowell, Jr., collection 
taken in Lane County (June i, November 3, and December 12.). In addi- 
tion to the above, we have or have seen skins from Douglas, Umatilla, 
Malheur, Benton, Tillamook, Multnomah, and Jackson Counties. This 
little owl is so small and usually so inconspicuous when perched in the 
heart of a dense tree that it can easily be passed by, something that no 
doubt frequently occurs. 

Order i^aprimuigirormes 
Goatsuckers: Family Caprimulgidae 

Nuttall's Poor-will: 

Phalaenoftilus nuttalli nuttalli (Audubon) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Plumage of upper parts moth-like, soft, and velvety, 
finely mottled grayish brown with sharply contrasting velvety black bars and sagittate 
markings; tail with all but middle feathers tipped with white; sides oj head and chin 
black, white throat patch bordered by black below; rest of under parts barred except 
for plain buffy under tail coverts. Adult female: similar, but with white tips to tail 
feathers narrower. Young: upper parts more silvery gray mixed with rusty; black 
markings smaller and less distinct; white of throat and tail restricted and tinged 
with buffy. Wing: 5.78, tail 3.67." (Bailey) Nest: Eggs laid on bare ground. 
Eggs: z, pure white or slightly marked (Plate 64, A). 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southeastern British Columbia, western North 
Dakota, and western Iowa south to central Texas, Arizona, and Mexico. In Oregon: 
Summer resident and breeding species in sage lands of eastern Oregon. One straggler 
reported from western Oregon. 

SUCKLEY (Cooper and Suckley 1860) found Nuttall's Poor- will at Fort 
Dalles. Bendire (1877) reported it rare at Camp Harney. Woodcock 
(1902.) listed it from Baker County on Anthony's report; Miller (1904) 
recorded it from Wheeler County; Peck (191 la) included it from northern 
Malheur County; and Walker (1917^ recorded it from Wasco and Sher- 
man Counties. Walker (i934a) also reported a specimen from Tillamook 
County taken October 2.7, 1933, the only record we know of for western 
Oregon. Although these are all of the published records for this little- 
known bird, the files of the Biological Survey contain many manuscript 
notes on its occurrence in practically every county in eastern Oregon. It 
is present from May (earliest date, May 12., Lake County) to September 
(latest date, October 6, Wasco County). 

Our own notes show it to be a widely distributed species that is gen- 
erally overlooked because of its nocturnal habits. Abundant as it is in 
places, we have seldom flushed it in the daytime but have had to wait 
until sundown stirred the birds into activity before we could find them. 
On one such rare occasion Dr. W. B. Bell and the writers, while tramping 
across the slopes of Hart Mountain on June 14, 192.6, flushed a bird from 
two eggs laid on the bare ground under a sage bush. So far as we can 
learn, this is the only nest of the species actually discovered in Oregon. 


GOATSUCKERS : Family Caprimulgidae [ 3 5 5 ] 

Few Oregonians are acquainted with this bird by sight, and those who 
are, know it as a pair of shining eyes that gleam from the roadway in 
the lights of a car or as a ghostly shape that flits for an instant across 
the beam from those same headlights. More people know it by its rapid, 
oft-repeated call, poor-will, poor-will, whistled endlessly from the vantage 
point of some hillside on a June evening. Although the unseen musician 
is easily heard, an attempt to locate the singer quickly reveals the ven- 
triloquial character of the note. This, combined with a color that matches 
the surroundings so exactly, makes the attempt to find it a more or less 
hopeless one that succeeds only by accident. 

Dusky Poor-will: 

Phalaenoftilus nuttalli californicus Rid g way 

DESCRIPTION. "Similar to nuttallii but much darker; middle of crown largely 
blackish; hind neck extensively marked with black, back dull blackish gray or wood 
brown instead of light brown." (Bailey) Si%e: About same as Nuttall's Poorwill. 
Nest and eggs: Identical with previous subspecies. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From southern Oregon south to Lower California. In 
Oregon: Rare summer resident of chaparral lands bordering Rogue River Valley in 
Jackson County. 

THE STATUS of the Dusky Poor-will as an Oregon bird rests on a single 
specimen (Gabrielson Coll. No. 1884) taken at Brownsboro, Jackson 
County, on June 2.1, 192.9, that is strictly comparable to birds from 
Sonoma County, California, although slightly darker than several other 
California specimens. On numerous dates between May n and September 
17, Gabrielson has heard poor-wills calling in this locality and several 
times has flushed birds when driving a car through the district at night. 
The bird is undoubtedly a regular summer resident of this area in eastern 
Jackson County and probably of other parts of the Rogue River Valley. 
It is difficult to collect in the dense brush of the territory it frequents 
and consequently escapes detection except under favorable circumstances. 

Pacific Nighthawk: 

Chordeiles minor hesperis Grinnell 

DESCRIPTION. "Entire upper parts black, mottled with gray and marked with 
buffy brown; outer tail feathers crossed near the tip by a white band; a broad band 
of white across throat; breast black, speckled with gray; wings long and narrow crossed 
by a broad white bar; tail forked. Bill very small, black; feet flesh-color. Female: 
Throat-band buff, no white bar on tail." (Hoffman 192.7.) Si%e: 9-10, wing 7.30- 
8.2.0, tail 4.10-4.60. Nest: None, eggs laid on bare ground or on roofs of buildings. 
Eggs: 2., creamy, olive, or buff, heavily spotted or blotched with black, gray, and 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southeastern British Columbia south to north- 
ern California and in Sierra Nevada Mountains south to southern California. 
Winters southward. In Oregon: Abundant summer resident. 


THE EARLY RECORDS of the Pacific Nighthawk (Plate 64, B) are all under 
the name Western Nighthawk, as the present subspecies was not recog- 
nized and named until 1905. The bird was first recorded from Oregon by 
Newberry (1857) and later by Suckley (Cooper and Suckley 1860). All 
the earlier naturalists mentioned it, and Rockwell (1878) recorded eggs 
from St. Helens. It has since been listed by many others and is known 
as an abundant summer resident of all parts of the State. It is perhaps 
the latest migrant to arrive in Oregon. For several years, a pair that 
nested on Gabrielson's place in East Portland appeared for the first time 
on June 3, and our earliest records for the State are about June i each 
year (earliest date, May 2.4, Harney County; latest, September 2.3, Kla- 
math County). The eggs are laid in late June, numerous Oregon sets 
having been taken between June 2.0 and July 10. No nest is built; the eggs 
are placed on the bare ground or occasionally on tarred and gravelly roofs. 
The aerial evolutions of the "bull bat" are a familiar sight of the long 
summer evenings. They include not only the twisting and turning carried 
on in search of food but also the nose dives indulged in at irregular inter- 
vals. One watching them circling and wheeling over the treetops, open- 
ing their capacious mouths and scooping in luckless insects as they dart 
through the swarms of gnats, midges, flying ants, and similar insects, 
will see a bird suddenly turn straight downward toward the earth, ending 
the dive in a quick upturn that sends it shooting skyward to the accom- 
paniment of a sharp "whizzing boom" caused by the sudden change of 
angle of the wing feathers. 

GOATSUCKERS : Family Capimulgida 


Plate 64, A. Nest and eggs of Nuttall's Poor-will. (Photo by Alex Walker.) 

Plate 64, B. Pacific Nighthawk. (Photo by Wm. L. and Irene Finley.) 

Order A/|icropoditormes 

Swifts: Family Mzcropodidae 

Black Swift: 

Nephoecetes niger borealis (Kennedy) 

DESCRIPTION. "Tail slightly forked; tarsus and toes naked, the hind toe pointing 
backward. Adults: dusky or blackish, lighter on head and neck, the forehead 
hoary, a velvety black area in front of eye. Young: similar, but feathers tipped with 
whitish. Length: 7.00-7.50, wing 6.50-7.50, tail 1.30-3.00." (Bailey) Nest: On 
cliffs, built of straw, etc. Eggs: 5, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southeastern Alaska and southern Colorado 
south to southern Mexico. Winters southward. In Oregon: Known only as rare 

ONE OF THE mysteries of Oregon ornithology is the absence of the Black 
Swift from the State. It is known to breed in both California and Wash- 
ington but so far has escaped detection in Oregon except for a single 
specimen picked up dead in a field near Albany, September 2.2., 192.4, and 
sent to Oregon State College. It is now in the collection of that institu- 
tion and was recorded by Miss Florence Hague (192.5) as the first Oregon 
specimen. These swifts undoubtedly pass over Oregon regularly during 
migration flights, but apparently they make long journeys, as the above 
specimen is the only one ever seen within the State, unless the swifts 
noted by Bretherton in September 1898 at Cape Foulweather were of this 
species, as he suspected. It is peculiar that they pass over the intricate 
system of canyons and mountains of western Oregon entirely, only to 
nest in apparently exactly similar places farther north. 

Vaux's Swift: 

Chaetura vauxi (Townsend) 

DESCRIPTION. "Upper parts sooty brown, lighter on rump and tail; tail tipped with 
spines; under parts gray, lighter on throat. Length: 4.154.50, wing 4.30-4.75, tail 
(including spines) 1.50-1.90." (Bailey) Nest: Of small twigs, glued together and 
fastened to the inside of a hollow tree or chimney. Eggs: 3 to 5, white. 
DISTRIBUTION.- General: Breeds from southeastern Alaska, central British Columbia, 
and Montana south to central California and Nevada. Winters in Central America. 
In Oregon: Regular but not common summer resident and breeding bird of western 
Oregon, including Cascade Range, and of the Blue Mountain area. 


SWIFTS: Family Micropodidae [359] 

VAUX'S SWIFT was first described by Townsend (1839) from specimens 
taken along the Columbia near Fort Vancouver, Washington, where it is 
still fairly common, and since then numerous ornithologists have men- 
tioned it. It is much more common in Oregon in the Cascades and the 
valleys westward than in the eastern half of the State, although it occurs 
regularly in smaller numbers in the Blue Mountains, particularly in the 
Wallowa Range. It arrives in early May (earliest date, April 2.7, Tilla- 
mook County) and remains until September (latest date, September 12., 
Benton County). It usually nests in hollow trees, but is repeatedly found 
nesting in chimneys after the fashion of its eastern relative, the Chimney 
Swift. Nests have been found in many localities in western Oregon. In 
migration it sometimes gathers in huge flocks, one of which roosted for 
several years in a greenhouse chimney in East Portland. The sight of 
this company of rapidly moving birds circling about the chimney like a 
huge whirlpool, with the birds in the vortex dropping like plummets 
into the chimney, excited much interest among local bird lovers who 
made many trips to watch the performance. 

Vaux's Swift is a swift, strong flier, its oarlike wings sending the 
slender body through the air at astonishing speed. Often the bird appears 
to work the wings alternately, and again, in orthodox fashion. Its speed 
far surpasses that of the swallows with which it often associates in 
migration, enabling the swift to dart past the swallows with no apparent 

White-throated Swift: 

Aeronautes saxatalis saxatalis (Woodhouse) 

DESCRIPTION. "Tail about one half as long as wing, forked, with stiffish and 
narrowed but not spiny feathers; tarsus and part of toes feathered; hind toe directed 
either forward or to the side, but not backward. Upper parts blackish; throat and 
breast and patches on wing and sides of rump white; sides blackish; tail without bristles. 
Length: 6.50-7.00, wing 5.30-5.90, tail i^" (Bailey) Nest: Of feathers and 
straws or other vegetable matter, glued to the rocks. Eggs: 4 or 5, white. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern British Columbia and southern 
Alberta south to Lower California and southern Mexico. Winters from California 
southward. In Oregon: Known only from Malheur County. 

As DOES the Black Swift, the White-throated Swift apparently passes over 
most of Oregon to nest on the cliffs along the Columbia in eastern Wash- 
ington, though why the exactly similar rims that abound in eastern 
Oregon are not chosen is one of the intriguing mysteries of the bird world. 
In addition to our own lone bird, the only records we find for the State 
are manuscript notes in the Biological Survey files made by E. A. Preble 
on a trip through Malheur County in July 1915. He saw one near Disaster 
Peak on July 14, reported a breeding colony of about six pairs on Mahog- 
any Mountain, and saw four at Watson, July 14, one of which he collected. 

3 6o] 


HUMMINGBIRDS: Family Trochilidae [361] 

It is now in the Biological Survey collection. We were unaware of these 
unpublished records when we published our note (Gabrielson and Jewett 
1930) listing a specimen taken at the Battle Creek Ranch, Malheur 
County, June 18, 1930 (Gabrielson Coll. No. 1717), as the first Oregon 

This big, boldly marked swift, with the conspicuous white throat, 
cannot possibly be confused with any other Oregon bird once it becomes 
familiar to an observer. It can quickly and easily be picked out of any 
group of swallows or swifts with which it may be associated by its 
larger size, black and white coloration, and almost incredible speed of 
flight. As it darts by, it seems to pass with almost the speed of light, 
and he is indeed a good wing shot who can bring down even an occa- 
sional bird. 

Hummingbirds: Family Trochilidae 

Black-chinned Hummingbird: 

Archilochus alexandri (Bourcier and Mulsant) 

DESCRIPTION. ''Adult male: Gorget above opaque velvety black, below metallic violet glit- 
tering with purple, blue, and peacock green lights; upper parts greenish; under parts 
soiled whitish, green on sides. Adult female: upper parts bronzy green; under parts 
grayish; tail much rounded, middle pair of feathers about the longest and wholly 
green, next two feathers green tipped with black, outer three tipped with white. 
Young: similar to adult female but feathers of upper parts tipped with buffy or rusty 
and throat of male streaked with dusky. Male: length 3.30-3.75, wing 1.70-1.75, 
tail 1.2.5, bill .70-. 75. Female: length 3.90-4.10, wing i.9o-2..oo." (Bailey) Nest: 
A beautiful cup, made of plant down, usually within a few feet of the ground. 
Eggs: 2. or 3, white (Plate 65, A). 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern British Columbia to northern Cali- 
fornia and east to Montana and Texas. Winters in Mexico. In Oregon: Rare. 
Included on basis of two specimens. 

ALTHOUGH the Black-chinned Hummingbird doubtless migrates more or 
Jess regularly through eastern Oregon and probably nests in small num- 
bers, its place in the Oregon bird list rests entirely on two female speci- 
mens. One, now in the Biological Survey collection, was taken by Jewett 
near Mount Vernon (Grant County) on June 30, 1915. Walker (1934)3) 
took the second at Adel (Lake County) on June 7, 192.5. Cantwell re- 
ported seeing a bright male near Paradise (Wallowa County) on June 10, 
1919. A male was shot in the same locality on June n but was lost in 
the brush. The absence of any permanent observers in eastern Oregon 
probably accounts for the fact that this bird is not detected more fre- 
quently, as it certainly should be present. 







HUMMINGBIRDS: Family Trochiltdae [ 3 63 

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: 

Selasphorus platycercus platycercus (Swainson) 

DESCRIPTION.- "Adult male: Gorget without elongated sides, deep rose fink; top of bead 
bronzy g r e en like back and middle tail feathers; other tail feathers purplish black, 
some of them edged with rufous; under parts whitish, sides glossed with green. Adult 
female and young: upper parts bronzy green; under parts whitish, the throat with dark 
specks, sometimes with a few central feathers like gorget of male; sides brownish; 
three outer tail feathers rufous at base, with a black subterminal band and white tip; 
a touch of green on the second and third feather between the rufous and black, the 
fourth feather green but marked with a terminal or subterminal spot of black, and 
edged with rufous, tip often white. Male: length 4.00-4.15, wing 1.91^.05, tail 
1.40-1.60, bill .62.-. 70. Female: length 4.10-4.70, wing, tail 1.45-1.50, 
bill .70-. 7Z." (Bailey) Nest: Usually within 15 feet of the ground, made of vege- 
table down, covered with lichens, bark, leaves, and plant fiber. Eggs: z, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming to 
Mexico. Winters in Mexico. In Oregon: Rare summer visitor found only in ex- 
treme eastern part of State. 

ALTHOUGH Bendire (iSf^a) and Woodcock (1902.) mentioned probable 
Oregon records, our information concerning the status of the Broad- 
tailed Hummingbird (Plate 65, 5) is meager and quite unsatisfactory. 
Preble (ms.) noted it several times in various localities in southern Mal- 
heur County between June 9 and July 2.5, 1915, and Sheldon (ms.) saw it 
in the Steens Mountains in July and August 1916. The authors together 
saw an adult male in Wallowa County, July 2.7, 19x1, and Jewett has seen 
the species at Adel, Lake County. Like the Black-chinned Humming- 
bird, this species would doubtless be detected more frequently if more 
observers were available in the eastern part of the State. 

Rufous Hummingbird: 

Selasphorus rufus (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Gorget fire red, orange, and brassy green; general body 
color bright reddish brown, glossed with bronzy green on crown and sometimes back, 
and fading to white next to gorget and on belly; tail feathers rufous, with dark 
mesial streaks; middle tail feather broad, pointed at tip, second from middle deeply 
notched on inner web, sinuated on outer web. Adult female: upper parts bronzy and rufous, 
rufous on rump and tail coverts; under parts whitish, throat sometimes with a few 
central brilliant feathers; sides shaded with rufous; tail feathers rufous at base, the 
middle ones green nearly to base; outer ones with broad blackish subterminal band 
and white tips; outside feather more than .10 wide. Young males similar to adult 
female, but feathers of upper parts edged with rusty, rump rufous, and throat show- 
ing specks of metallic red. Young females: similar to young males, but rump green 
and throat specked only with green. Male: length 3.15-3.70, wing 1.50-1.60, tail 
1.30-1.35, bill .60. Female: length 3.50-3.90, wing 1.75-1.80, tail 1.15-1.30, bill 
.65-. 70." (Bailey) Nest: Of plant fiber and down, decorated with moss or lichens, 
usually close to the ground, often in bushes overhanging banks (Plate 66). Eggs: 
Usually z, white. 


DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaskan coast, southern Yukon, and southern 
Alberta south to Oregon and southwestern Montana. Winters in Mexico. In 
Oregon: Most common hummingbird in State. A common summer resident and 
breeding species. 

THE RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Plate 66) is the brown-looking humming- 
bird of the dooryards, familiar to almost every Oregonian. It is the 
most abundant one in the State and is found in migration and as a breed- 
ing species in every county. The females and young, lacking the reddish- 
brown back and brilliant gorget of the adult male, are frequently taken 
for some other species. It is, however, the only hummer one is likely to 
see in western Oregon, as it is the only one found regularly west of the 
Cascades. East of that range, many more than half the hummingbirds 
seen are of this species, and in the mountains of eastern Oregon it is 
abundant. It usually arrives in early March (earliest date, February 16, 
Coos County) and remains until September (latest date, September 14, 
Washington County). It was first recorded as arriving at the mouth of 
the Columbia River near the encampment of the Lewis and Clark expedi- 
tion on March 2.6, 1806 (Lewis and Clark 1814). Nuttall (1840) reported 
a set of eggs taken at the mouth of the Willamette on May 2.9, 1835. 
Since then a great number of records of this species have been published, 
including many nesting records. The latter are largely in May, which is 
the great breeding month, although Braly took eggs on Sauvies Island as 
early as April 12. and Jewett found a fresh set on June 9 at Portland. 

Allen's Hummingbird: 

Selasphorus alleni Henshaw 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Similar to rufus, but whole back as well as crown bright 
bronzy green, two outer tail feathers very narrow, and second from middle without 
notch or sinuation; outer feather much less than .10 wide. Adult female: similar to 
female rufus, but with outer tail feathers not more than .10 wide. Male: length 3.2.5- 
3.30, wing 1.50-1.55, tail 1.10-1.2.0, exposed culmen .60-. 65. Female: length 3.40, 
wing 1.65-1.70, tail 1.05-1.15, exposed culmen .68-. 70." (Bailey) Nest: A beautiful 
cup of plant down, covered with moss and usually placed on a plant or bush over- 
hanging the water. Eggs: ~L, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds along coast from southern Oregon to southern Cali- 
fornia. Winters on Santa Barbara Islands and probably in northwestern Mexico. 
In Oregon: Known definitely from only two specimens. 

ALTHOUGH MANY of the earlier books gave general ranges that listed 
Allen's Hummingbird as a summer resident of the Oregon coast, definite 
evidence of its presence was not obtained until Jewett collected two 
specimens, an adult male and an immature male, on Pistol River, Curry 
County, June 2.3, 192.9. In July, 1933, the authors while together in that 
same locality shot two more hummers that were unquestionably of this 
species, but both were lost in the dense jungle of vines through which 
the tall stalks of Scrophularia about which they were feeding grow. 

HUMMINGBIRDS: Family Trochtltdae [365] 

Calliope Hummingbird: 

Stellula calliofe (Gould) 

DESCRIPTION. "Six middle tail feathers contracted in the middle and widened at 
end; adult male with feathers of chin and throat narrow, those on the outside of the 
ruff elongated; base of ruff white. Adult male: Gorget rose purplish, white bases 
giving effect of streaking; upper parts metallic green; tail feathers dusky, bases 
edged with rufous, tip wider than base; under parts white; sides tinged with brown 
and green. Adult female: upper parts bronzy green; tail rounded and tail feathers 
greenish gray basally with touch of rufous, black-banded, and tipped with white, 
except middle pair, which are green ending in dusky. Young: similar, but under 
parts washed with rufous, throat specked with dusky. Male: length z. 75-3.00, 
wing 1.50-1.60, tail .90-1.10, exposed culmen .55-. 58. Female: length 3.50, wing 
1.75-1.80, tail 1.10-1.15, bill .58-. 60." (Bailey) Nest: Willow down, decorated 
with bits of bark and shreds of cone, and often saddled on a pine cone. Eggs: -L, 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from northern British Columbia and southwestern 
Alberta south in high mountains to Lower California and New Mexico. Winters 
in Mexico. In Oregon: Regular summer resident of Blue Mountains and isolated 
high ranges of eastern Oregon. 

NEXT TO the Rufous Hummingbird, the Calliope Hummingbird is the 
most abundant hummer in the State, although it is found only in eastern 
Oregon. There are, however, a few scattered records from the Siskiyou 
Mountains, Jackson County, and one from Glendale, Douglas County, on 
July 3, 1916 (specimen in Carnegie Museum). 

This is the smallest bird in the State probably the smallest in the 
United States but despite its minute size it is quite hardy. It frequents 
the open mountain meadows, where it finds an abundance of flowers 
during the short summer. It arrives in early May (earliest date, April 2.4, 
Klamath County) and remains until September (latest date, September 
2.4). Merrill (1888) published the first record for Oregon when he listed 
it as a common bird at Fort Klamath. Bendire (1895 a) listed, the first set 
of eggs, taken June n, 1883, near the same spot. He found several other 
nests and collected three sets of eggs in a few days in June of that year. 
Anthony took a set of fresh eggs in Baker County, July i, 1901. Since 
that time the species has been listed by various observers as a summer 
resident of all mountain ranges in the State east of the Cascades. There 
are numerous skins in the Biological Survey collection as well as in our 
own collections. 

[ 3 66] 


Order t^oraciir 


Kingfishers: Family Alcedinidae 

Western Belted Kingfisher: 

Megaceryle alcyon caurina (Grinnell) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Under parts white, with blue gray belt across breast; 
crest and upper parts bluish gray; nuchal collar white; wing quills black, marked 
with white; tail with middle feathers bluish gray, the rest black, spotted with 
white. Adult female: similar, but belly partly banded and sides heavily washed 
with rufous. Young: like adults, but male with breast band and sides tinged with 
rusty. Length: 11.00-14.50, wing 6.00-6.50, tail 3.80-4.30, bill lor more." (Bailey) 
Nest: A burrow in a perpendicular bank. Eggs: 5 to 8, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from northern Alaska and Yukon territory south to 
southern California and from Rockies to Pacific. In Oregon: Permanent resident 
throughout State. Less common in winter. 

THE RATTLING CRY and flashing blue wings of the Western Belted King- 
fisher (Plate 67) have been familiar to frequenters of Oregon's water 
courses and lakes since the Lewis and Clark expedition first noted this 
bird at the mouth of the Columbia on March 2.4, 1806 (Lewis and Clark 
1814). Every ornithologist since then has listed this industrious fisher- 
man among the birds observed in the State, and the field records of the 
Biological Survey contain dozens of records. Our own records cover every 
month and all parts of the State. Eggs are laid in May and June (May 12. 
to July i), usually in a long tunnel excavated in a perpendicular bank 
near the water. There the young remain and are fed by the parents until 
able to launch out from the mouth of the burrow to start fishing for 

Until recent years, every small stream and lake in Oregon big enough 
to support a population of fish and other aquatic life had its pair of 
kingfishers, but the relentless and senseless persecution of this striking 
bird by sportsmen has sadly reduced its numbers. As in many other 
instances, the persecution is the result of ignorance and misunderstanding. 
Fishermen, whipping their favorite stream, see the flash of blue and white 
as this expert diver plunges into the stream to emerge almost instantly 
with a tiny fish in its beak and jump to the conclusion that trout and 
other game fish are being terribly depleted by these birds. Nothing could 
be further from the truth. Although this kingfisher would undoubtedly 



take trout and bass, food is furnished in such abundance by other fish, 
crayfish, aquatic larvae, and batrachians, that few game fish are taken. 
Frequently one hears the statement that the fish-eating birds must be 
eating trout "as we have only trout in our river." Possibly there may 
be such a favored spot, but we know of no Oregon streams that do not 
swarm with many other species of fish, mostly of the nonfood group. 
The statement is true of some of the high mountain lakes that were 
without fish until planted with game fish, but there is an abundance of 
aquatic insect larvae and other forms of life, even in those areas. If it 
were not so, the fish themselves would find it hard to live save by can- 

Order ticirorrnes 

Woodpeckers: Family Picidae 

Northern Flicker: 

Colaptes auratus luteus Bangs 

DESCRIPTION.- "Adult male: Upper parts brown, barred with black, except for red 
nuchal band, white rump, and black tail; wings and tail with shafts and under side of 
feathers bright yellow; throat and sides of head pinkish brown, with black malar stripe 
or 'mustache' and black crescent on chest; rest of under parts brownish white, 
washed with yellow and spotted with black. Adult female: similar, but without 
black mustache, though sometimes with faint indications of one. Young male: 
similar to adult male, but crown marked with dull red, nuchal band dull scarlet. 
Young female: with dark mustache. Male: Length I2.-I4, wing 6.18, tail 4.09, 
exposed culmen 1.33. Female: wing 6.06, tail 4, exposed culmen i.Z5." (Bailey) 
Nest: In old stumps or trees, usually not far from ground. Eggs: 5 to 9, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Canada and Alaska east of Rocky Mountains 
from tree limit south to edge of Lower Austral Zone and in winter south to Gulf. 
In Oregon: Rare straggler that has occurred twice. 

THERE ARE TWO records of the Northern Flicker in Oregon, both strag- 
glers. The first is of a bird taken by Walker (19x4) at Blaine, Tillamook 
County, on November 3, 192.1; the second is of a bird taken in Portland, 
February 2.3, 1932. (Jewett Coll. No. 7175). 

Although typical C. a. luteus seems to be a rarity in Oregon, hybrids 
between it and C. cafer collaris are common, particularly on the coast. 
Overton Do well, Jr., at Mercer, and Walker, in Tillamook County, took 
numerous specimens; we have three from Portland (Jewett Coll. No. 
3380; Gabrielson Coll. Nos. 1897 and 1898); and there is a single bird 
from Adel, Lake County (Gabrielson Coll. No. 332.)- These birds exhibit 
curious combinations of the mustaches and crown markings of the two 
forms, often complicated further by association of dominant head mark- 
ings of one species with the color of wing linings and tail feathers of the 
other. Such a series is an interesting study in possible character com- 
binations but would be out of place in this book. It is evident, however, 
that the wintering flickers of northwestern Oregon originate somewhere 
in Canada along the line where these two forms meet. In addition to the 
specimens of these hybrid birds that we have examined, Bendire (1877) 
reported one from Camp Harney in 1875, an< ^ Woodcock (1901) listed 
two from Corvallis. 


Northwestern Flicker: 

Colapfes cafer cafer (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. Similar to C. c. collaris but darker. Sift: Length 12.. 75-14.00, wing 
6.35-7.00, tail 4.70-5.10, exposed culmen 1.35-1.60. Nest: Similar to C. auratus 
luteus. Eggs: 5 to 10, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Northwest coast district from Sitka, Alaska, to Humboldt 
County, California. In Oregon: Permanent resident that breeds throughout Willam- 
ette Valley, Umpqua Valley, and along entire Coast Ranges through coast counties. 

THE NORTHWESTERN FLICKER is the breeding form of all of Oregon west 
of the Cascades, except Jackson and Josephine Counties. It winters 
throughout its range and occasionally in the Rogue River Valley. In 
the country it inhabits, it is by far the most common woodpecker and 
ranks as one of the characteristic and most common birds of the district. 
Townsend (1839) first listed it as an Oregon bird, and since his time much 
has been published about this very widely distributed species, although 
most of the literature is applicable to the Red-shafted Flicker. 

It is impossible to assign this bird to any definite habitat, as it is found 
so universally through western Oregon that it vies with the robin as the 
most commonly observed bird. It is frequently most unwoodpeckerlike 
in its behavior. Although it feeds in the orthodox manner, it also essays 
the fly-catching stunt of Lewis's Woodpecker and is inordinately fond of 
ants. It can be regularly seen on lawns and in meadows digging away 
in the ground, tearing up ant hills, and catching the excited inhabitants 
of the disrupted fortress on its sticky tongue. 

Normally these flickers nest, as do other woodpeckers, in holes that 
they have excavated in trees for the purpose, either close to the ground 
or high up in the branches of a giant tree. Frequently, however, a flicker 
will cause some trouble and complaint by persistent attempts to drill a 
nesting hole in a building; and in the St. Johns district of Portland, 
despite an abundance of trees for normal nesting sites, several pairs have 
for years excavated burrows in a steep bank along a railroad cut and 
raised their families in these kingfisherlike apartments. Eggs are laid in 
early May. Jewett located five nests on Government Island from April 2.9 
to May 10 that contained five to seven eggs each. 

Red-shafted Flicker: 

Colapfes cafer collaris Vigors 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Ground color of head and body brownish, back barred 
and under parts spotted with black; rump white and tail black; no nuchal band; 
mustache red; chest marked with black crescent; under side of wings and tail red. Female: 
Similar, but usually with a buffy or brown malar stripe. Young: Similar, but with- 
out mustache. Length: 1^.75-14.00, wing 6.45-7.15, tail 4.4o~5.zo, exposed culmen 
1.34-1.53." (Bailey) Nest: Same as C. auratus luteus. Eggs: 5 to 10, white. 

WOODPECKERS: Family Picidae [ 371 ] 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From southeastern British Columbia and southern Alberta 
east to Great Plains and south to southern California and Mexico. In Oregon: 
Permanent resident of all of eastern Oregon, including eastern slope of Cascades, 
and of Jackson and Josephine Counties of Rogue River Valley. 

NEWBERRY (1857) first listed the Red-shafted Flicker (Plate 68) from the 
territory now assigned to it, and Bendire (1877) collected the first set of 
eggs at Camp Harney in 1875. Since then many writers have mentioned 
the bird. It is common even in the treeless areas of eastern Oregon, where 
it nests in posts or in holes in banks and forages in the sagebrush in com- 
petition with the Horned Larks and Meadowlarks. The eggs have been 
collected from April 2.0 to June 10, according to published records and 
to our own and other manuscript notes, and the habits and behavior of 
the bird are in every way similar to those of the two preceding species. 

In addition to eastern Oregon birds, we have a fair series of breeding 
and wintering birds from the Rogue River Valley and find upon com- 
parison that these birds are much nearer to C. c. collaris than they are to 
the darker C. c. cafer of the Northwest coast. Breeding birds are quite 
definitely of this form, as are a majority of the wintering individuals, 
although some of the latter approach the darker race. 

Western Pileated Woodpecker: 

Ceophloeus pileatus picinus (Bangs) 

DESCRIPTION. "Head conspicuously crested; bill longer than head, straight with 
wedge-like tip, beveled sides, and strong ridges, broader than high at base; nostrils 
concealed by large nasal tufts; feet peculiar, outer hind toe shorter than outer front 
toe, tarsus shorter than inner front toe and claw. Adult male: Brownish or grayish 
black; entire top of head, occipital crest, and malar stripe bright red; chin and wide 
stripe on side of head white, or sulphur yellow; patches on wings and under wing 
coverts white; feathers of belly tipped with whitish. Adult female: similar, but fore- 
part of head and malar stripe brown instead of red. Young: similar to female, but 
crest salmon." (Bailey) Si%e: Length 17-18, wing 9.00, tail 6.30, bill 1.05. Nest: 
Usually excavated, well up in either deciduous or coniferous trees. Eggs: 3 to 5, 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From British Columbia and Montana south to central Cali- 
fornia. In Oregon: Permanent resident of forests of entire State. 

BENDIRE (Brewer 1875) & rst included the Pileated Woodpecker in Ore- 
gon's fauna when he listed it as resident in the pine woods about Camp 
Harney, and he (Bendire 1895 a) first reported finding an Oregon nest of 
the species, which contained young birds, at Fort Klamath, in June 1881. 
He commented on the rarity of this woodpecker everywhere in the West, 
and several of the other earlier writers listed it as a rare bird in Oregon. 
Bowles (1901 a) reported taking eggs near Waldo, Josephine County. 


Plate 68. Red-shafted Flicker. (Photo by Wm. L. Finley and H. T. Bohlman.) 

WOODPECKERS: Family Piddae [373] 

Woodcock (1901) listed 12. localities in the State where the bird has been 
noted and quoted Bretherton as follows: 

A rather rare resident, Breeding, and frequenting the large timber. The Indians believed 
that the red scalp of this bird was a talisman against all evil, and, in consequence, the birds 
were constantly hunted and their numbers greatly reduced, but as the Indians are being 
rapidly civilized out of existence the birds are now on the increase. 

Perhaps in this statement there is a hint as to the apparent increase of 
this great woodpecker that we now find to be fairly common and widely 
distributed for so large and conspicuous a bird. Our notes contain records 
for every month and for all of the wooded sections of the State. It is 
most common in the open forests of the Wallowa Mountains and in the 
ranges bordering the Rogue River Valley, though it is also found in lesser 
numbers throughout both the Cascades and Coast Ranges and in the 
wooded portions of the Willamette Valley. Braly found a nest contain- 
ing one egg near Fort Klamath, May n, 1931. 

The borings of this great bird are more frequently seen than the bird 
itself. Old stumps are literally torn to pieces in its search for wood- 
boring insects, and deep pits are to be found in many other trees. These 
drillings are carried out with amazing speed, one pair of the birds soon 
effectively riddling all of the stumps and snags in the immediate neighbor- 
hood of their chosen home. 

Usually shy, these largest of the woodpeckers in Oregon can dodge 
behind a tree trunk with amazing speed for creatures so big and clumsy 
looking. At times they lose their shyness and flit about from one tree 
to another in supreme indifference, as Gabrielson has twice observed, 
once in Wallowa County, where a family of six furnished a wonderful 
entertainment as the parents taught their newly fledged offspring the 
intricate art of dashing through the thick growth at top speed, and once 
in Lincoln County, where two males and a female darted about through 
the trees as do the Downy Woodpeckers in mating season. The flight in 
such performances is swift the birds zigzagging among the trees, flash- 
ing the white wing patches and linings that contrast strongly with the 
dark body plumage. At other times the flight resembles that of a crow, 
with much less of the undulating movement of the woodpecker family 

Of all bird notes to be heard, the ringing bugle calls of the Pileated 
Woodpecker, the clear peal of the Loon, and the wild free notes of the 
Olive-sided Flycatcher seem most fittingly to express the very spirit of 
the great western forests. Heard in the early morning, when the per- 
petual twilight of the heavy forests is still only a shade lighter than the 
blackness of night, the ringing notes of the "Black Woodcock" bring a 
thrill to the listener that few other wild voices can produce. Not only 
are the calls thrilling, but the sight of this great black woodpecker, 
flame-crested and white-winged, intrigues every lover of the out-of-doors. 


California Woodpecker: 

Balanosphyra formicivora bairdi (Ridgway) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Feathers around base of bill and chin black, bordered 
by band of white or yellow; crown red; sides of head, upper parts, and chest band 
glossy greenish; rump, wing patch and belly white. Adult female: similar but with 
a black band separating white or yellow forehead from red crown. Young: similar 
to adults and with same sexual differences in crown, but colors duller." (Bailey) 
Si%e: Length 8.50-9.50, wing 5.30-5.90, tail 3.10-3.60, bill .87-1.12.. Nest: Usually 
drilled in living trees. Eggs: 4 or 5, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southwestern Oregon south to southern Cali- 
fornia. In Oregon: Permanent resident of southwestern Oregon from Umpqua River 

THE HANDSOME, sleek-looking California Woodpecker was first found in 
Oregon by Newberry, who collected it in the Umpqua Valley in 1855 
(Baird, Cassin, and Lawrence, 1858). Bendire (1895 a) reported that he 
saw three birds near Pelican Bay, Upper Klamath Lake. He also listed 
the first Oregon breeding record, June 15, 1883, between Fort Klamath 
and Jacksonville on the west slope of the Cascades and reported that 
J. K. Lord saw this woodpecker, May 2.5, 1860, on the headwaters of 
the Deschutes River and on the eastern slopes of the Cascades among a 
mixed growth of pines and oaks. We have numerous records for Jackson 
and Josephine Counties and fewer for Douglas, Coos, and Curry Counties. 
There is one record for Lane County and an early record or two from east 
of the Cascades. 

After Bendire's time, Jones (1900) and Woodcock (1902.) were the only 
writers who mentioned this species as an Oregon bird until Gabrielson 
(1931) listed it in The Birds of the Rogue River Valley. Bendire remarked 
on its great abundance in that valley, and we wish to emphasize the fact 
that nowhere else in Oregon is any species of woodpecker so abundant. 
There it is one of the most conspicuous birds of the oak belt; its shining 
plumage flashes ever in the sun as it dodges about a limb or flies in un- 
dulating lines from tree to tree; and its noisy calls break the midday 
silence of the hottest summer day. 

This is the species that so delights in wedging acorns into telephone 
poles and trees until at times there seems to be no room for another nut. 
Wherever the oaks are found from Eugene south, one is likely to find this 
striking bird or evidence of its presence, though it does not become 
common until south of the Umpqua. The nests are usually drilled in the 
oak trees about which this woodpecker spends most of its life and are 
generally well up from the ground. Patterson has reported egg dates 
between May 2. and 19 in the Rogue River Valley. 

WOODPECKERS: Family Picidae [ 375 ] 

Lewis's Woodpecker: 

Asyndesmus lewis Gray 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Under parts iridescent greenish black except for gray collar; 
face dull crimson; throat and chest gray changing to soft rose on belly; plumage of 
lower parts harsh and hairlike. Young: head without red, neck without collar, 
under parts with less red [Plate 69, A]. Length: 10.50-11.50, wing 6.50-6.80, tail 
4.40-4.70." (Bailey) Nest.- In trees of many kinds, at almost any height. Eggs: 
6 to 7, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From British Columbia and southern Alberta to Arizona 
and New Mexico and from Black Hills west to Pacific. In Oregon: Summer resident 
in every part of State. Winters more or less regularly in Columbia, Snake, John 
Day, and Willamette Valleys and more commonly in Umpqua and Rogue River 

THE STRIKING red and dark bronzy green Lewis's Woodpecker is an 
exceedingly familiar sight in Oregon from timber line on the highest 
peaks to the straggling growth of willows and cottonwoods along the 
stream beds of the eastern part of the State. There is much in its behavior 
and actions reminiscent of the Red-headed Woodpecker of the Eastern 
States. It has the same trick of sitting on fence posts and telephone poles 
and the identical habit of catching insects, both by short sallies from 
the high perch and by more intricate aerial evolutions amid the insect 
swarms. It is also fond of the oak groves, athough it is by no means so 
closely associated with them as the California Woodpecker. It nests in 
May and June. The dates at which eggs have been taken vary from May 
12. to June 2.9. Nests are usually high above the ground and difficult of 

Townsend collected the first Oregon specimen, September 2.2., 1834, 
along the Columbia River (Baird, Cassin, and Lawrence 1858), and Dr. 
Suckley (Cooper and Suckley 1860) obtained two others at The Dalles, 
January 9, 1855. Since that time nearly every writer on Oregon birds has 
had something to say about this abundant species. Newberry (1857) 
noted its habit of congregating at and near timber line in the fall months 
to compete with the robins and bluebirds in harvesting the ripening 
crop of mountain-ash berries. 

Red-naped Sapsucker: 

Spkyrapicus varius nuchalis Baird 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Upper parts black, thickly marked with white; wing 
coverts plain black, with wide white outer stripe; head with red crown and red nuchal 
patch separated by a plain black area; sides of head with white stripes; chest black between 
red throat and pale yellow belly. Adult female: similar, but duller, and black chest 
patch mostly mottled gray. Young: duller, red of head and throat wholly wanting 
or only suggested by pale claret-colored tinge. Length: 8.00-8.75, wing (male) 4.91- 
5.10, tail 3.10-3.40, bill .95-1.02.." (Bailey) Nest: Usually in an aspen tree, in 
this State, 5 to zo feet from the ground. Eggs: 4 or 5, white. 





WOODPECKERS: Family Picidae [ 377 ] 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from British Columbia and Alberta south to north- 
eastern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Winters south to central 
Mexico and Lower California. In Oregon: Regular but not common resident and 
breeding bird of eastern slope of Cascades, Blue Mountains, and timbered parts of 
isolated ranges in eastern Oregon. 

THE RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, the handsome representative of the familiar 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, was first listed for Oregon by Bendire (1877), 
who found a nest containing good-sized young, June 12., 1875, ^ n tne 
Blue Mountains. He stated: 

Their nests are in aspens, and generally inaccessible. I noticed three in the season of 1876 
in such situations, too late for their eggs. 

The authors and Dr. W. B. Bell discovered a nest containing large young 
in an aspen thicket on Hart Mountain, June 15, 192.6, and in the Braly 
collection there is a set of five eggs taken at Beattie, Klamath County, 
May 2.5, 1930. The birds arrive in April (earliest date, April 8, Klamath 
County) and remain until October (latest date, October 19, Harney 
County). We have no winter records, but Bendire (i895a) occasionally 
observed the birds in Harney Valley in winter, and Woodcock (1901) 
reported two January records for Baker County in 1896 on the authority 
of Robert W. Haines. There are no recent winter records. Eastern Oregon 
observers should keep on the lookout for winter specimens. 

In common with other sapsuckers, this one drills rows of neat square 
holes in the bark of various species of trees to collect the exuding sap or 
the small insects that gather about it, or both. If it were more abundant, 
the species might do some economic damage, but it is too scarce to cause 
any concern. 

Northern Red-breasted Sapsucker: 
Sphyrapicus varius ruber (Gmelin) 

DESCRIPTION. Similar to southern Red-breasted Sapsucker but red of a darker 
shade and belly olive yellow. Si%e: About as southern Red-breasted Sapsucker. 
Nest: In holes in living trees. Eggs: 5 or 6, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from Alaska south to western Oregon. Winters 
south to central California. In Oregon: Permanent resident of Willamette Valley 
and Coast Mountains. 

THE RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER is such a striking bird that it is well known 
to most residents of western Oregon. Most highly colored of resident 
woodpeckers, it excites admiration and interest whenever seen. Like the 
other sapsuckers, it is a comparatively quiet bird except during the 
mating season when it becomes quite noisy. Johnson (1880) listed it as 
a breeding bird of the Willamette Valley, the first printed record of the 
present subspecies that we have found. Anthony (1886) and Bendire 
(1889!)) also reported it as a breeding bird of that territory, and Bendire 


listed a number of sets of eggs taken in the eighties, some near 
Salem by Clinton T. Cooke, and some in Washington County by Anthony. 
He also referred to many nests and specimens that he took himself about 
Fort Klamath at about the same time, but those records properly belong 
to the next form. Woodcock (1901) presented records from Lincoln, 
Yamhill, Multnomah, Marion, and Benton Counties. 

In checking the ranges for the two subspecies now listed for this State, 
we find a lack of breeding birds from the southern Willamette and the 
Umpqua Valleys, so that we are not able to define the area of inter- 
gradation as closely as is desirable. All of our specimens from the Willa- 
mette Valley and the coast district as far south as Coos County, both 
winter and summer, undoubtedly belong to this subspecies. There is in 
addition a single bird (Gabrielson Coll. No. 3559) from Grants Pass, 
taken December 9, 1918, that is unquestionably a northern bird. Breed- 
ing material from the northern Cascades is lacking, but these birds should 
also belong to this form. 

As this is the only sapsucker found in the Willamette Valley and 
adjacent Coast Mountains, to it alone must be credited the damage to 
orchard and shade trees that at times calls forth bitter complaint. Prune 
trees and English walnut trees seem most subject to its attacks, although 
few fruit trees are entirely immune. Individual trees are often attacked 
year after year until damage results from direct physical injury. In 
addition, many orchardists fear the entry of disease organisms in the 
open wounds left by the birds. 

Southern Red-breasted Sapsucker: 

Sphyrapicus varius daggetti Grinnell 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Whole head, neck, and chest plain red, or black and white 
markings of nuchalis only suggested; back, wings, and tail black, heavily marked 
with white; belly dusky or yellowish. Young: duller, and color pattern less distinct, 
the red replaced by claret brown. Length: 8.50-9.15, wing (male) 4.70-5.05, tail 
3.10-3.50, bill 1.001.08." (Bailey) Nest: Usually in aspens, not far from the 
ground. Eggs: 5 or 6, pure white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern Oregon south through California 
mountains. Winters in adjacent lowlands. In Oregon: Permanent resident of Kla- 
math, Jackson, Josephine, and possibly extreme southern Lake Counties, where it 
breeds in highlands and winters sparingly in valleys, most of the birds going south 
into California from October to April. 

THE RECORDS of Mearns (1879), Merrill (1888), and Bendire (1895 a), all 
from Fort Klamath, apply to this subspecies, the Southern Red-breasted 
Sapsucker, which is more abundant about Fort Klamath and the adjoin- 
ing section of the Cascades than any sapsucker elsewhere in Oregon. 
Bendire found numerous nests and remarked at length on the abundance 
of the species, a condition that remains unchanged to this time. We 

WOODPECKERS: Family Picidae [ 379 ] 

have found it commonly about the Klamath Lakes as well as about the 
base of Mount McLoughlin. In the Rogue River Valley it is much less 
common. Our breeding birds from that area are much nearer breeding 
birds from southern California than those from northwestern Oregon. 

Its breeding habits and behavior are much like those of other sap- 
suckers. About Fort Klamath it shows a marked preference for aspen 
trees as nest sites. Eggs are laid in May, and there are six sets in the 
Braly collection taken from this locality, May 11 and 2.2., 1930, contain- 
ing from three to five eggs each. 

Williamson's Sapsucker: 

Sphyrapicus thyroideus thyroideus (Cassin) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Upper parts glossy black except white rump, large white 
patch on wing coverts, and fine white spots on quills ; sides of head with two white 
stripes; throat and breast black, with a median stripe of bright red; belly bright 
yellow. Adult female: entire body barred with brown or black and white, except 
for brown head and white rump and, rarely, a red median stripe on throat; chest 
usually with a black patch; middle of belly yellow. Young male: similar to adult 
male, but black duller, belly paler, throat stripe white. Young female: similar to 
adult female, but markings and colors duller, belly whitish, and chest without 
black patch. Length: 9.00-9.75, wing 5.15-5.50, tail 3.80-3.90, bill 1.00-1.2.0." 
(Bailey) Nest: In both coniferous and deciduous trees. Eggs: 3 to 7, white. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Breeds from southern British Columbia through Washing- 
ton, Oregon, and Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Winters south to Lower 
California. In Oregon: Summer resident of summit and eastern slope of Cascades, 
Blue Mountains, and isolated ranges of eastern Oregon on which are found yellow 
pine forests. 

THE FIRST SPECIMEN of Williamson's Sapsucker known from Oregon was 
taken by Newberry near Upper Klamath Lake, August 2.3, 1855. Baird 
(Baird, Cassin, and Lawrence 1858) wrote about this specimen, and 
Merrill (1888) also reported the species from Fort Klamath. Walker 
(1917!)) reported it from Jefferson County, and Shelton (1917) from 
Crescent Lake and Three Sisters. All of the published records, except 
these last two and our own, refer to the Fort Klamath district, where 
the species is indeed common. We have found it to be equally common 
in the Blue Mountains, however; particularly in the yellow pine belt. 
There are many specimens and field notes in the Biological collection and 
files. These specimens and our own have been taken in extreme north- 
eastern Oregon, on the summit of the Siskiyou Mountains south of Ash- 
land, in and along the entire eastern slope of the Cascades, in the Warner 
Mountains, in the wooded ranges between Klamath Falls and Lakeview, 
and in the Maury Mountains east of Bend. We have no records for the 
isolated ranges of southeastern Oregon from the Warner Mountains east- 
ward to the Idaho line. 

The birds arrive in April (earliest date, March 3, Klamath County) 

[ 3 8o] 


and remain until October (latest date, December i, Lake County). The 
eggs are laid in May and June. Bendire (1895 a) recorded the first set 
from Oregon as taken June 3, 1883, from an excavation 50 feet up in a 
yellow pine tree on the road between Fort Klamath and Crater Lake, and 
he took other sets during June of that year. Patterson took several sets 
in Klamath between May 2. and 12.. 

This handsome sapsucker, the males among the most contrastingly 
marked of Oregon summer birds, is by choice a resident of the open 
yellow pine forests, where it frequently builds its nest in the pines in 
preference to the aspens and other deciduous trees chosen by its relatives. 
It is a quiet bird and somewhat solitary. On April 2.8, 192.6, in the 
vicinity of Sled Springs Ranger Station on the Wallowa National Forest, 
Gabrielson observed a dozen or more in a loose flock chasing each other 
through the forest and uttering shrill cries in a manner entirely unlike 
their usual decorous behavior. 

Harris's Woodpecker: 

Dryobates villosus harrisi (Audubon) 

DESCRIPTION. " Adult male: Upper parts black, with scarlet nape, white stripe down 
back, wing coverts and tertials plain black or lightly spotted with white; outer primaries 
with white spots; outer tail feather plain white; under parts smoky gray or light smoky 
brown. Adult female: similar, but without scarlet nape. Young: similar, but forehead 
spotted with white and scarlet of nape extending partly or wholly over crown. 
Length: 9-10, wing 4.70-5.30, tail 3.zo-3-75, bill 1.1^-1.40." (Bailey) Nest: 
Usually a freshly constructed hole. Eggs: 3 to 6, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Permanent resident of humid coast belt from British 
Columbia to northern California. In Oregon: Western part of State from summit of 
Cascades to Pacific Ocean and south to northern Jackson and Josephine Counties. 
In these counties, there is an intermingling with next species, though this is the 
form on coastal slope of Coos and Curry Counties. (See Figure 9.) 

FIGURE 9. Distribution of three forms of woodpeckers in Oregon: i, Harris's Woodpecker 
(Dry abates villosus harrisi); z, Modoc Woodpecker (D. v. arias'); 3, Rocky Mountain Hairy 
Woodpecker (D. v. monticola). 

WOODPECKERS: Family Picidae [381] 

EARLY RECORDS in this group of woodpeckers, as in many other variable 
species, have been greatly confused, and it is impossible to assign many 
of them to the correct subspecies. All records in the above outlined 
territory, however, belong to Harris's Woodpecker unless otherwise 
specified. We have had 98 Oregon skins available for working out the 
distribution of the three subspecies that occur here. Audubon (1839) 
described the present form from specimens taken at Vancouver, Washing- 
ton, and there have been many records since of this common woodpecker, 
although the records of Suckley (Cooper and Suckley 1860) at The Dalles 
and those of various early collectors for eastern Oregon must now be 
referred to other races. One of the curious anomalies of bird distribution 
is presented by the comparative abundance of the woodpeckers of the 
villosus and -pubescent groups. Within the range of D. v. harrisi, the villosus 
group is comparatively much less abundant than its smaller relative, 
whereas the reverse is true in southern and eastern Oregon. Within the 
territory assigned to it, Harris's Woodpecker is a permanent resident, 
and, in addition, we have a summer bird from Butte Falls, Jackson 
County, July 2.2., 192.6, (Gabrielson Coll.) and one bird taken at Grants 
Pass, December n, 1918, (Jewett Coll.) that are harrisi. Curiously 
enough, a Modoc Woodpecker was taken at the same time. Our own 
notes contain records for every month for the Willamette Valley and 
along the coast. 

The eggs are laid in April and May in holes excavated by the powerful 
chisel-like beak, usually in living trees, and the young are usually hatched 
by May 15. Woodcock (1902.) recorded a set of four fresh eggs taken 
May 30, near Salem. 

These handsome big woodpeckers are essentially birds of the coniferous 
forests, where their rolling tattoo and high-pitched alarm note are familiar 
sounds. They are usually shy and not too easily seen within the heavy 
forests. Even in the open cut-over lands they are adept at keeping a 
branch or tree trunk between themselves and an intruder. If an observer 
remains quiet, the birds, which freeze into instant silent watchfulness at 
his approach, soon forget him and proceed about their business of drilling 
for insects and larvae in the trees. If he scrambles noisily through the 
woods, however, the first intimation of the woodpecker's presence will 
be a high-pitched alarm note given as it hastily leaves its perch in un- 
dulating flight and seeks a safer vantage point. 

Modoc Woodpecker: 

Dryobates villosus orius Oberholser 

DESCRIPTION.- Very similar to harrisi, except paler beneath and somewhat smaller. 
Si%e: Length (skins) 7.159.15, wing 4.91-5.10, tail 1.74-3.19, bill 1.06-1.36. 
Nest and eggs: Identical with those of D. v. harrisi. 


DISTRIBUTION. General: Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, northern Oregon, 
and south central Washington and east into Nevada. In Oregon: Permanent resident 
along east slope of Cascades from Columbia River south to vicinity of Diamond 
Lake, at which point it crosses over summit to intergrade with harrist, although 
most breeding birds of Rogue River Valley are of this form. Eastward, the birds 
from Redmond and Bend east and south through Silver Lake, Adel, and Hart Moun- 
tain, belong here. (See Figure 9.) 

THE BREEDING RANGE of the Modoc Woodpecker in Oregon is roughly a 
great triangle with the apex at The Dalles and the base extending from 
southern Josephine County eastward to southeastern Lake County. It 
includes western Wasco and Jefferson Counties and the timbered parts of 
Deschutes, Lake, Klamath, Jackson, and Josephine Counties. The bird 
wanders about somewhat in the winter. Walker (192.4) took one at 
Tillamook, January 13, 1916, and Jewett has a specimen in his collection 
taken August n, 192.5, at Netarts. Working out the range of this bird 
is a puzzling proposition at best, but the general line of intergradation 
can best be illustrated by noting that birds of intermediate character 
have been taken by us at Crane Prairie (April 19), Bend (February 15), 
Keno (March zz), Rustler Peak (November 15), and Brownsboro (April 
17, June 19, and December 8). The correct allocation of the birds from 
the Rogue River is particularly difficult, but after careful consideration 
of the specimens we feel that they properly belong here. An adult male 
(Gabrielson Coll. No. 1511) taken east of Butte Falls on July zz, i9z6, is 
clearly harrisi, whereas birds taken at Hayden Mountain (z), Four-mile 
Lake, Mosquito Ranger Station, Williams, and Grants Pass are identical 
with birds from Lake County and northeastern California. In addition, 
the bird from Rustler Peak and the three from Brownsboro above are also 
from this Rogue River territory. There is also an intermediate bird from 
Portland (December zy, I9Z4), probably a winter straggler that came 
through the Columbia Gorge from the eastern slope of the Cascades. 
The records of Newberry (1857) in the Cascades, Suckley (Cooper and 
Suckley 1860) at Fort Dalles, Bendire (1888) at Fort Klamath, Baird 
(Baird, Cassin, and Lawrence 1858) at Fort Dalles, and Mearns (1879) 
and Merrill (1888), both at Fort Klamath, apply to this particular 

The nest and eggs of the Modoc Woodpecker are not different from 
those of Harris's Woodpecker, but the latter is a bird of the spruce and 
fir forests, whereas the former is associated to a great extent with the 
yellow pine forests and aspen thickets of the more open timber of the 
eastern slope of the Cascades and the great timber belt of south-central 
Oregon. There are three sets of four eggs and one of three in the Braly 
collection that were taken in the vicinity of Fort Klamath between May 
13 and 30, 1930, and one set of four eggs taken in the same territory, 
May 10, 1931. 

WOODPECKERS: Family Picidae [383] 

Rocky Mountain Hairy Woodpecker: 

Dryobates villosus monticola Anthony 

DESCRIPTION. Like D. v. orius, but larger with heavier and longer bill and much 
clearer white below. Si^e: Male, wing 5-Z3, tail 4.00, bill from nostril i.iz; female, 
wing 5.04, tail 3.80, bill from nostril .95. Nest and eggs: Indistinguishable from 
D. v. harrisi. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From British Columbia, Washington, and Montana south- 
ward through the Rocky Mountains to eastern Utah and northern New Mexico. 
In Oregon: Breeds in Blue Mountain area, which includes all of Wallowa, Union, 
Baker, and Grant Counties, all of Umatilla except lower sage lands along Columbia, 
southern Morrow, timbered parts of Wheeler and Crook, a small area in extreme 
southeastern Jefferson, and northern Harney and Malheur Counties. In winter, 
may straggle outside this area, but is common permanent resident of its breeding 
range in Canadian and Transition Zones of these counties. (See Figure 9.) 

BENDIRE'S (1877) records from Camp Harney are the first ones published 
for the Rocky Mountain Hairy Woodpecker in Oregon. His set of eggs 
taken May 2.9, 1876, "in the Blue Mountains" from a dead pine 2.0 feet 
from the ground is the first definite breeding record and the only published 
one available, but we can add the following notes: Jewett took large 
young from a nest on East Eagle Creek, Baker County, on June 2.1, 192.5; 
and while traveling together we found a nest containing five fresh eggs 
on Lookout Mountain, Baker County, May 2.7, 1933. This nest was 
drilled in a living aspen tree 12. feet from the ground. Walker (1917^ 
recorded the bird from eastern Jefferson County, and there are specimens 
in the Biological Survey collection from that same locality. Our own 
published records and notes list it for every month in the area outlined 
above. In addition we have a single bird (Jewett Coll. No. 4411) taken 
at Adel, Lake County, October 2.3, 192.6, that is undoubtedly a migrant 
from farther north. 

This large and white-looking race, living in open timber, is a con- 
spicuous member of the avifauna of the Blue Mountains, probably seen 
more frequently than any other woodpecker except the Red-shafted 
Flicker. The habits and behavior are no different than those of the other 
Hairy Woodpeckers found in the State. 

Batchelder's Woodpecker: 

Dryobates pubescent leucurus (Hartlaub) 

DESCRIPTION. Like D. p. gairdneri but large with under parts pure white; under tail 
coverts pure white instead of spotted and barred with black; outer tail feathers 
with much less black and tertials more spotted with white. Si%e: Length 6-7, 
wing 4.00, tail z.6i, bill .63. Nest and eggs: As in D. p. gairdneri. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From southern Alaska and British Columbia east of Cascade 
Range south to northeastern California, New Mexico, and Arizona and east to 



Montana, western Nebraska, and Colorado. In Oregon: Blue Mountain area and 
desert ranges of Malheur, Harney, and Lake Counties, including Warner Moun- 
tains. (See Figure 10.) 

BAIRD (Baird, Cassin, and Lawrence 1858) first reported the small Batch- 
elder's Woodpecker from the range now occupied by this race, and 
Bendire (1877) considered it rare in the John Day Valley. We believe 
the various Fort Klamath records of Bendire and Merrill probably should 
now be referred to one or the other of the two other races of this species. 
Peck (191 1 a) recorded it from Malheur County, and there are numerous 
specimens and field records in the Biological Survey from the territory 
outlined above. We have records and specimens covering every month 
from the territory outlined but know of no definite breeding records for 
eastern Oregon, though the bird is a permanent resident. We have found 
the species to be scarce in this State and consider it a noteworthy day 
when more than one individual is seen. Like its relatives, it frequents 
the cottonwood and willow growth along the streams, being seen very 
infrequently in the coniferous timber. It is rather quiet except at mating 
time and may consequently escape detection even when present. 

Gairdner's Woodpecker: 

Dry abates pubescens gairdneri (Audubon) 

DESCRIPTION. " 'Adult male: Upper parts black, with dingy whitish forehead, scarlet 
nape, and white stripe down back: middle and greater wing coverts plain black, or only 
lightly spotted with white; outer tail feathers white, barred with black; under parts 
smoky gray or light smoke brown. Adult female: similar but without scarlet on nape. 
Young: similar, but with red of nape extending partly or wholly over crown. Length: 
6.X5-7.oo, wing 3.55-4.15, tail i-.^o-^.jo, bill .70-. 80." (Bailey) Nest: A freshly 
excavated hole, usually in deciduous tree. Eggs: 4 or 5, white. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Coast zone from southern British Columbia to Mendocino 

FIGURE 10. Distribution of three forms of woodpeckers in Oregon: i, Batchelder's Wood- 
pecker (Dryobates pubescens leucurus); i, Gairdner's Woodpecker (D. p. gairdnerf); 3, Willow 
Woodpecker (D. p. turatii). 

WOODPECKERS: Family Picidac [385] 

County, California. In Oregon: Permanent resident of western Oregon from Columbia 
River south to Rogue River and thence southwestward to Coos and Curry Counties, 
including western slope of Cascades south to northern edge of Rogue River Valley. 
(See Figure 10.) 

AUDUBON (1839) described Gairdner's Woodpecker (Plate 69, B~) from 
specimens collected at Fort Vancouver, Oregon; Cooper and Suckley 
(1860) reported it from western Oregon; and Johnson (1880), Anthony 
(1886), and Woodcock (1902.) listed it as a common resident of western 
Oregon. Our own numerous specimens, published records, and field notes 
reveal it to be an exceedingly common bird in the Willamette Valley and 
a less common but regular resident of the coast country. We have one 
winter bird of this race from Grants Pass, taken December 16, 1918 
(Jewett Coll. No. 4739), and numerous intergrades that will be discussed 
under D. p. turatii. 

The species is most abundant along the Columbia and Willamette 
Rivers, where it builds its nest in the old willow stubs and branches, 
usually within 10 to 12. feet of the ground. Woodcock (1902.) stated that 
Mr. Warner's collection contained four sets of eggs from Salem, taken 
between May 4 and 15, with four or live eggs in each set. Braly furnished 
us with the unpublished record of a nest containing young that he found 
on Sauvies Island, May 19, 1932.. 

This tiny black and white woodpecker, smallest representative of the 
family in Oregon, is a familiar sight in the wooded bottoms along the 
streams, where, because of the thick, almost junglelike growth, the 
tap-tap-tap of the chisel-like bill is frequently heard long before the indus- 
trious carpenter is sighted. Tame and unsuspicious, it is one of the birds 
most easily observed by the person just beginning the study of birds; 
and, because of its relative abundance, it is one of the most constant 
elements of the winter bird population. It is equally abundant in summer, 
but the thick foliage makes it much more difficult to see it at that season. 

Willow Woodpecker: 

Dryobates fubescens turatii (Malher be) 

DESCRIPTION. Like D. p. gairdneri, but smaller, with lighter under parts and the 
tertials spotted with white. Si%e: Length 5.55-6.41, wing 3.46-3.81, tail i.oo- 
1.38, exposed culmen .57-. 67. Nest and eggs: Identical with those of D. p. gairdneri. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: Upper Austral and Transition Zones of California, except 
desert ranges, and extreme northwest coast extending into southern Oregon. In 
Oregon: Permanent resident of Klamath, Jackson, and Josephine Counties. (See 
Figure 10.) 

THE BREEDING WOODPECKERS of this group from southern Klamath County 
and the Rogue River Valley are exceedingly puzzling. One from Medford, 
May 2.1, 1919 (Gabrielson's Coll. No. 340), has been identified by Ober- 
holser as D. p. turatii and so recorded (Gabrielson 192.30). We now have 


available for comparison a series of 96 skins of the small woodpeckers, 
including 10 from this southern Oregon territory. Most of these birds 
seem to be intermediate between D. p. gairdneri and D. p. turatii, with 
summer birds matching well in color of the under parts a good series of 
comparable birds in California. The bills seem slightly heavier, though 
the measurable difference is negligible, and the spotting of the tertials is 
not quite so pronounced, although more so than in summer birds from 
Portland. We are convinced that the breeding population here is in the 
aggregate a group of intergrades appearing somewhat closer to turatii, 
though individuals tending toward either subspecies are available. 

Northern White-headed Woodpecker: 

Dryobates albolarvatus albolarvatus (Cassin) 

DESCRIPTION.- "Outer hind toe longer than outer front toe; bill with nasal groove 
extending nearly to tip; terminal half of bill not distinctly compressed; tongue very 
slightly extensile. Adult male: head and neck white, whole body black except for 
white patch on wings and red patch on back of head. Adult female: similar, but with- 
out red on head. Young male: similar, but back and red on crown duller. Length: 
8.90-9.40, wing 5.00-5.10, tail 4.00-4.05." (Bailey) Nest: A hole in a tree, from 
4 to 15 feet or more from ground. Eggs: 4 to 7, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: From Cascades and Sierra Nevadas east to Idaho and Nevada 
and from Washington to central California. In Oregon: Permanent resident of entire 
timbered section from summit of Cascades eastward and of western slope in Jackson 
County and westward along Siskiyous at least to Redwood Highway. 

THE CURIOUSLY colored Northern White-headed Woodpecker, unexpect- 
edly inconspicuous in its contrasting white and black garb, is a regular 
permanent Oregon resident wherever the yellow pine is found in good 
stands. It is one of the more silent woodpeckers that is surprisingly 
difficult to see so long as it remains motionless against the yellow pine 
bark. In flight it is exceedingly conspicuous, however, the white wing 
patches and head showing in startling contrast to the velvety black body 
plumage. It is a regular inhabitant of the yellow pine area of the Blue 
Mountains and scattered ranges to the southward and equally common 
along the eastern slope of the Cascades from the Columbia River south- 
ward. Somewhere in the vicinity of Crater Lake it crosses the summit 
and is found somewhat sparingly in the mixed yellow pine and oak 
forests of Jackson County and across into Josephine County along the 
timbered flanks of the Siskiyous. There is an area on the head of the 
Umpqua as yet too little worked by ornithologists where it may occur, 
although to date we have no definite record of its appearance there. 

Newberry (1857) listed it as not common in the Cascades, and Baird 
(Baird, Cassin, and Lawrence 1858) recorded it from Oregon, giving the 
locality as ' 'Cascade Mountains 50 miles south of the Columbia, ' ' referring 
to specimens collected by Newberry. Cooper (1869) listed it as a breed- 

WOODPECKERS: Family Picidae [387] 

ing species near Fort Dalles, but Bendire (1877) reported the first actual 
nest as taken at Camp Harney, May 2.7, 1875. He (1895 a) also recorded 
a nest taken at Crater Lake, May 2.9, 1883. Many writers since that time 
have listed it, and our own notes show it to be a widely distributed 
permanent resident. It is not common west of the Cascades, but Gabriel- 
son saw it on Rustler Peak near Mosquito Ranger Station on the Rogue 
River National Forest and collected a female on Little Gray-back Moun- 
tain, just south of the Oregon-California line, on July 16, 1933. On the 
next day the authors watched a pair feeding a nest full of young in an 
old pine snag in the same vicinity. Patterson found eggs from May 8 to 
1 6 in the southern Cascades. 

Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker: 
Picoides arcticus (Swainson) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adult male: Upper parts glossy blue black except for squarish yellow 
crown patch, fine white spotting on wings, and plain white outer tail feathers; 
sides of head black and white; under parts white, heavily barred with black on 
sides. Adult female: similar, but without yellow on head. Young male: like adult, 
but yellow crown patch more restricted, black of upper parts duller, under parts 
tinged with brown. Young female: crown black, sometimes with traces of yellow. 
Length: 9.50-10.00, wing 4. 85-5. 15, tail 3.60, bill 1.40-1.60." (Bailey) Nest: In 
dead trees or stumps, usually close to the ground. Eggs: i to 4, usually 4, white. 
DISTRIBUTION. General: From Alaska, Yukon, and northern Mackenzie, northern 
Minnesota, Michigan, and New York. In Oregon: Permanent resident in lodgepole 
pine forests of Canadian Zone in Blue Mountains, Cascades, and Siskiyous. 

NEWBERRY (1857) first reported the Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker for 
Oregon, from the Cascades. Bendire (1877, i895a) found it at Camp 
Harney and recorded eggs taken at Linkville (Klamath Falls), May 2.5, 
1883, an d Merrill (1888) listed it as breeding at Fort Klamath. Since 
that time there have been numerous records for the State. We have 
collected 34 specimens, the most easterly from Whitney, Baker County, 
and the most westerly from Bolan Lake, Josephine County. 

As the yellow pine is preferred by the Northern White-headed Wood- 
pecker, so the lodgepole pine is the chosen haunt of the Arctic Three-toed 
Woodpecker, and our notes show that the great lodgepole pine forest 
lying between Bend and Klamath Falls in a more or less unbroken body 
from the summit of the Cascades to the eastern spurs of the Paulina 
Mountains (East and Paulina Lakes) is the center of abundance of this 
beautiful woodpecker. Outside of this area it is much less common but 
is found in small numbers throughout the lodgepole patches of both the 
Blue and Siskiyou Ranges. 

The nests are usually found within a few feet of the ground in old snags 
or stumps. Four sets of eggs in the Braly collection, taken in 1930 between 
May 15 and June 7 in the lodgepole pine area north of Klamath Falls, 


contained one, two, or four eggs, and a nest found by Jewett in Lake 
County on June 18 contained three nearly fledged young. Patterson re- 
ported nests with eggs from May 6 to 30. 

The shiny black back and handsome yellow crown patch lend a dis- 
tinction to this species missing in most of its relatives. The bird is usually 
silent, calling neither as frequently nor as noisily as the Hairy Wood- 
pecker, and is almost always located by its industrious tapping as it 
works over the bark of the pines. 

Alaska Three-toed Woodpecker: 

Pico'ides tridactylus fasciatus Baird 

DESCRIPTION. Adult male: Upper parts mainly black with a whitish nuchal band 
and a white back, strongly barred with black, wing quills barred with white and 
secondaries noticeably spotted with the same color, outer tail feathers mainly white, 
somewhat sparingly barred with black, a conspicuous yellow crown patch and back 
of head dark glossy blue, under parts white, sides and flanks barred with black. 
Adult female: Similar but without yellow crown. Si%e: Length 9.50, wing 4.50- 
4.70, tail 3.10-3.75, bill 1. 10-1.15. (Adapted from Bailey.) Nest: In holes in 
coniferous trees. Eggs: Usually 4, white. 

DISTRIBUTION. General: Hudsonian and Canadian Zones from Alaska, Yukon, and 
western Mackenzie south to Oregon, northern Idaho, and northern Montana. In 
Oregon: Rare permanent resident of higher parts of Wallowa Mountains and Cas- 
cades south at least to east base of Mount McLoughlin in Jackson County. 

WE HAVE FOUND the Alaska Three-toed Woodpecker to be one of the 
rarer species. The only published record of it as an Oregon bird is that of 
Shelton (1917), who listed it as breeding on the Three Sisters. He based 
his statement on specimens in the Oregon Game Commission collection, 
a pair and two young collected by Jewett on the Three Sisters, July 19, 
1914, which are the first known specimens from the State. On July 2.4, 
192.6, Gabrielson collected a young male out of three birds found on the 
shores of Four-mile Lake at the east base of Mount McLoughlin, the 
most southerly record for the State. The other two were evidently a 
newly fledged young and an adult. There are five other specimens, all 
taken in the higher part of the Wallowa Range on various dates between 
May 19 and October 2.6. 

In general behavior, this woodpecker is much like the more abundant 
Arctic Three-toed Woodpecker, frequenting dense lodgepole forests and 
remaining comparatively silent in most seasons. The call is a peculiar 
nasal note, quite unlike that of any other woodpecker save those of its 
other three-toed cousins. 

Order fasserir< 


Tyrant Flycatchers: Family Tyrannidae 

Eastern Kingbird: 

Tyrannus tyrannus (Linnaeus) 

DESCRIPTION. "Adults: Under parts and band on end of tail pure white; head and tail 
black; rest of upper parts slate gray; middle of crown with a concealed patch of 
orange red. Young: crown patch wanting and colors duller, wing and tail coverts 
edged with brownish, tail band and chest tinged with brownish. Length: 8-9, wing 
4.45-4.75, tail 3.40-3.75, bill from nostril .50-. 57." (Bailey) Nest: A rather bulky 
structure of weed stems, grass, wool, string, feathers, or other similar available 
material, placed in the crotch of bushes or trees, on telephone poles, or about build- 
ings. Eggs: 3 or 4, white or pink, spotted and blotched with bro